Corporate Innovation – What Happened?

In the real world outside of academia, we have the same problem where corporate employees are discouraged from thinking, trained to do things exactly as per the employee manual, BMPs (best management practices) of industry, or directions from their bosses, yet their bosses are doing the same thing? Is anyone – even the C-suite or board of directors thinking anymore? Are they busy copying marketing campaigns, business strategies, and processes of their competitors too – apparently so, which is fairly obvious reading trade journals and following industry associations.

In fact, many industry associations (bureaucratic status quo) have training courses for people in the industry – but that just means once everyone is trained – every company is going around the same track at the same speed with the same horsepower, and same rules as everyone else. Welcome to the human rat race – looks more like NASCAR than revolutionary innovation or great leaps of technology. How can you or your company win if you just copy what everyone else is doing, or attempting to do? How can your company come up with a breakthrough or the next new thing?

We Americans complain when China and others rip-off our intellectual property, and yet, what are we doing to ourselves? Doesn’t anyone think anymore? Every time I turn around I see the same thing. What happened to American Innovation, creative problem solving, and that ‘can do attitude’ that when there is a will, we will find a way? We see only a few corporations thinking anymore or pushing the envelope? Why?

Do we have too many confining rules and regulations? Are too many companies worried about lawsuits or pull-backs in shareholder’s equity, stock price and quarterly profits? Are there too many class action lawyers ready to strike – keeping companies from taking risks? Are companies too concerned with boycotts enabled by political correctness in our evolving society – be careful not to offend anyone – be safe, don’t rock the boat?

Is it all of these things mentioned above, plus the slow mind-numbing indoctrination of media, academia and the inherent ever pervasive government indoctrination? Perhaps, but what’s the underlining cause. Humans are not getting less intelligent. IQ scores have been rising for a 100-years. Could social media have a part in this problem I’ve observed? Some say social media has helped innovation – has it really? It seems that faster communication would increase original thought and make everyone a little more innovative – but it hasn’t. It appears it is dummying down our society more than it is helping foster creative minds and turning us all into innovators.

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