BOF 3.0 – Innovation Fatigue Session


The second of the Brightidea Birds of a Feather (BOF 3.0) unconference discussion sessions I attended posed the question – Is there such a thing as innovation fatigue?

Here are some of the key insights and comments from the session:

  • You can’t run people in crisis mode forever. If you create an innovation panic, your people and organization will get innovation fatigue.
  • How can you throttle up and down both the top and bottom of the innovation funnel?
    • Sometimes you accumulate too many ideas to develop, and other times you don’t have enough.

  • Any innovation approach should pay attention to the pacing and have learning built in (a feedback loop)
  • How much change can people handle?
  • Should innovation be part of the regular job for everyone in the organization?
  • Should you have an annual innovation plan?
  • Would more than two innovation jams per year be too much?
  • Should ideation really be fully separate from implementation?
  • Is it possible for people to not have enough time to innovate AND to have innovation fatigue?
  • If the cynicism starts, you’re in trouble. Innovation efforts have to show tangible results to receive continued support.
  • It can be empowering to line managers to have someone owning and driving innovation.

Overall for me the key takeway was that a structured approach to innovation is needed that clearly lays out:

  • Why innovation is important and that it is never ‘done’
  • The organization’s innovation strategy and goals (yes they are different)
  • The organization’s innovation policies and processes
  • The employees’ role in innovation, how to contribute, and why to contribute
  • How progress will be measured and results will be communicated

What are your thoughts or experience?

More from the Brightidea Birds of a Feather (BOF 3.0):


Braden Kelley is the editor of Blogging Innovation and founder of Business Strategy Innovation, a consultancy focusing on innovation and marketing strategy. Braden is also @innovate on Twitter.

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Braden Kelley

Braden Kelley is a Director of Innovation and Human-Centered Problem-Solving at Oracle, a popular innovation speaker and workshop leader, helps companies build innovation cultures and infrastructures, and plan organizational changes that are more human and less overwhelming. He is the author of Charting Change from Palgrave Macmillan and Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. Braden has been advising companies since 1996, while living and working in England, Germany, and the United States. Braden earned his MBA from top-rated London Business School. Follow him on Twitter and Linkedin.

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