The Robots Problem (and how to spot them)

ttp://’s a Dilbert-like cartoon that occasionally plays in my head. It’s called The Robots Problem and it’s a parable about innovation.

Executive: “Every day I beg and plead for outside-the-box thinking…for nothing. How can I convince people to stop thinking like robots?!?!”

Employee: “Oh sure, I have tons of great ideas, but the boss never listens. Why does he insist on treating us like robots?!?!”

If your organization doesn’t have a strong culture of innovation, you’ll find The Robots Problem everywhere.

Finding those Pesky Little Devils

Diagnosing the problem takes some practice. You have to look carefully. Over time, you’ll learn to spot little invisible robots swirling the office – affecting planning meetings, lurking in break rooms, hijacking presentations. Make sure you check each desk, where robots just love to hover over people’s shoulders, whispering discouraging words into unsuspecting ears. Once you get the hang of it, rarely a moment will pass when you don’t see robots chomping away gleefully at the fabric of your company.

Driving Out the Robots

What’s particularly interesting is the bidirectionality of the problem. With a robots infestation, everyone suffers – execs just as much as employees. Tragically, they often blame each other instead of the real culprit. Yet, driving out the robots requires everyone to work together against a common enemy. How exactly does everyone work together against the robots? Ahhhh, now that’s quite a rabbit-hole. Way too big to tackle in this post…

Join the global innovation community Don’t miss an article (3,200+) – Subscribe to our RSS feed and join our Innovation Excellence group! Townsend is Senior Director, Strategic Marketing at Imaginatik. He is passionate about ideation, innovation, organizational transformation, and building great teams and companies. Imaginatik improves today’s innovation giants, and creates tomorrow’s innovation leaders. Through the right mix of best-practice advice, program management expertise, and an award-winning software platform, we help our clients reach their full innovation potential.

Chris Townsend




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