When Innovation Best Practice is Worst Practice

When Innovation Best Practice is Worst PracticeI’m a collector of best practices. I like to find out what forward thinking individuals and organizations have done to accomplish extraordinary results.

Sometimes I share these stories in my keynotes or workshops.

Invariably, my stock rises when I tell these stories. People think I know stuff. They get giddy. They take notes. They think about how to adapt these best practices to their organization.

But then things get weird.

People start becoming satisfied with emulating other people’s lives. Instead of thinking up their own best practices, they imitate. Ouch!

The spirit of innovation gets replaced by the religion of innovation.

Gone is reflection. Gone is the process of discovery. Gone is the ownership that comes with birthing new insights. In it’s place? Simulation. Imitation. And, all too often, the blind following of pre-packaged solutions.

I’m not saying there isn’t value in paying attention to other people’s best practices. There is.

But when when imitation replaces creation, something invariably gets lost — and innovation eventually goes down the drain.

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Mitch DitkoffMitch Ditkoff is the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions and the author of “Awake at the Wheel”, as well as the very popular Heart of Innovation blog.

Mitch Ditkoff




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No Comments

  1. Elizabeth Oldeman on January 18, 2011 at 5:10 am

    Bull´s eye, Mitch, a very true and dramatic approach to one of the human characteristics we´re all born with: we imitate those who we admire. Any chance on digging further into techniques that can teach us to be more original and be innovative for ourselves instead of being mere copycats? Thanks for the great article,

  2. Mitch Ditkoff on January 18, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Elizabeth: Thanks for the kind words. And yes, to your question re: resources. First, my book, Awake at the Wheel, describes 35 techniques for thinking out of the cave (and 12 innovation best practices to discover on your own). http://www.awakeatthewheel.info

    I also have created an online creative thinking tool to help people get out of the so called box: FREE THE GENIE, http://www.freethegenie.com

    I offer seven different keynotes that get at all this stuff, too.

    Additionally, my company, Idea Champions, offers a wide variety of training, facilitating, and consulting services that help individuals, teams, and entire organizations think for themselves in new ways: http://www.ideachampions.com

    Feel free to email me directly if any of this intrigues you: mitch@ideachampions.com

    Be well!

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