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 Design Thinking, Innovation and Transformation Consultant, a popular innovation speaker and workshop leader, and helps companies use Human-Centered Change™ to beat the 70% change failure rate. 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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