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Jun 2, 2012

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Companies are Afraid of Innovation

 Many companies got to the top through a culture of innovation, as they were not afraid of thinking differently, changes or criticism.
Businessman afraid of innovation

  However, once there it appears that such a culture is history or a cliche sentence they use to promote themselves on the media.

No Fear Of Failure, But Fear Of Criticism

  It seems that once companies have earned a name or a reputation, they are afraid of external criticism and failure, more specifically to be blame and hated because of it. Due to the tendency of people to criticize with less clemency those who have been successful innovating. For example. Think about authors, singers, companies, restaurants and more. Once they have managed to build a certain image of what they can do, the expectations of their audience are much higher, which increases the possibility of dissatisfaction and hence criticism. Moreover, "Often the fact that chief executives can’t quantify this new thing becomes an excuse for their not doing the thing they’re most afraid of embracing,¨ says Owens, author of Creative People Must Be Stopped: 6 Ways We Kill Innovation (Without Even Trying)

As They Grow Companies Forget About Innovation

  As they grow companies start to play it safe and their culture of innovation seems to be inversely proportional to the growth of their hierarchical structure. For every new employee, there is less innovation, and more people who undermine the ideas from the drivers of change. Companies stop looking for potential talent and focus on recruiting individuals to perform specific tasks, so they focus on finding those who know how to do what they want them to do, no more no less. However, they do not give them the freedom to generate ideas that will improve the benefits of their work for the company. That means many are recruited, not necessarily for their ability to do more for the company, but for their ability to do exactly the same tasks they were performing, but in another place. These workers do not generate positive changes, their work does not propose any challenge, they are not willing to learn anything new, and they will do only what they are told to, during the time they would last in the company. In fact, you could say that as a business grows, more employees are hired to do less work, however, they are paid more.

Why Innovators Are a Problem For Other Employees? Why Their Ideas Are Often Not Considered?

  Simple innovation creates change. Employees who arrive when the company is already at the top do not seek change or risk, they seek stability. Let's consider the case of Garrett Camp, founder of StumbleUpon, a service for discovering and sharing webpages. He sold the company to Ebay in 2007, and after two years, in 2009, he decided to buy the company back. According to Garrett "at eBay, [he] had a boss, But [he] still managed all the product engineering. The day-to-day flow was not that really different. But they were not getting the same people to apply to join. They were seeing people who were looking for a conservative, stable job Rather than Something with a little more a lot of Risk and upside."

  Generally, the approach of companies to find people who are 100% operational from day one, shows their lack of interest in investing in talent. This approach allows those who are specially trained to perform certain specific tasks, to be rewarded not for their ability to do more, or to learn, but for their capability to perform the same task in different companies. This lack of challenge and change, gives them certain stability that allows them to have great confidence in their performance on an only specific task. Reason why these people do not seek to do things in some new way, where they feel unsafe, and feel they can take risks and fail. This type of employees, we might describe as not innovative, or, to be fair, not open to innovation and change, will be first to raise their voice to criticize, unfairly, the fresh ideas. As it happens to companies, employees do not want to be marked either for good or bad things, to avoid criticism.

  So if you don't want your company to be afraid of innovation, stop focusing on those super competent people, instead, search for people that are willing to take risks, learn what they don't know, and give their best for the company. Look for ambitious people whose goals are linked to the objectives of the company, and give the opportunity to those who propose new ideas to lead them, ie promote Intrapreneurship.