Innovators: Are you tuning out?

Innovators: Are you tuning out? - Innovation ExcellenceI have been totally struck by the overwhelming (and clearly underwhelming) number of webinars being offered to me on a daily basis, all related to innovation and all for free. Hmmm, let’s suck up some more of our valuable time?

Am I the only one getting overwhelmed in choice, underwhelmed in content value?

Look this is a bit of a rant, so turn away those who love all the free choices we currently have, don’t waste your time reading on but perhaps you should. Are you really getting good value out of the time you are putting in or just filling in your time?

I wanted to ask ‘out loud’ some question to you:

What do you get of real value… when it is offered free?

You are getting experts offering free webinars or short ‘tasters’ with even offers of “fly me to your destination- no fees just cover my costs”, others offering “join my (global) network” as entreaties.

Then you are equally getting software providers giving their take on innovation solutions galore, with the “three lessons learnt” mantra as the takeaways. These all increasingly add up to you being bombarded daily with their knowledge, that often you can’t really decide if it did have value or not, by the end of the hour you had invested.

Then you get the innovation community providers linking up, providing web chats, drawing in different and diverse opinions from practitioners, academics or specialists, under let’s “ask the experts”, all hosted and moved along to stay within the prescribed time period. Yet even these are so often totally failing to get to solve your solutions, all you end up getting is their experiences or observations, in someone else’s often unrelated situation, that might even be dangerous to extract and simply apply.

Maybe this is a really bad day for me?

I am getting really frustrated by this constant ‘streaming’. I know I can ignore it, click the invite off, I can simply tune out and I think this is where many of us all seem to be heading. Are we really getting the value out of these ‘free’ offers?

You can go on and add in the free mix, different academic courses being offered on innovation from one day, to three days, a week or even longer as on-line courses by providers building their brand for the future. Then you are getting the “upgrade or get left behind” messages from all these. Are these really worth the time investment or just self-promoting?

I’m constantly being told I need upgrading on my innovation skills, nudged to check out the latest software update, and enticed to participate in a debate. It simply goes on and on.

Can it stop? Should it? Will it?

Then we have conference and forum providers for anything innovation, be this open innovation, CEO’s, social innovation, digital innovation. Then you have these consistent meetings offered by the European Union or different institutions, non-profit making organizations etc., etc for half days- are they mad in what this means in invested time, or are we simply mad to go? Do we all have so much time on our hands, really?

I certainly can’t afford the time. And then for what, some long introductions and a few ‘choice’ bullet points. Thank god for streaming these live events so you can tune out much but being there, can you run and hide? Did I mention the radio talk shows, book publicity videos?

Then you have the reading material. OMG! That is me included here. careful! We do need a break from all this, we are all progressively tuning out, not actually in. Is all this “stuff” really helping?

Real lasting value or is it just simply filling in our time?

No seriously, we are so far running ahead of ourselves in delivering ‘something’ as service providers but is it of real, lasting value? We have opened up the spigot to allow a deluge of “anyone” who can simply take hold of an idea or a thought, quickly put it together through a host of technologies and social platforms, so as to deliver their contribution onto the mountain of advice equally piling on, I mean mountains of advice.

Can we call stop, surely we are all gradually switching off or do we just totally tune out? I believe clients, meaningful decision makers in clients are tuning out, as they surely do not have the time for all this.

Personally I really am not so sure we can reverse this trend but we do need new thinking?

The technology is becoming so pervasive, it just seems to get easier to ‘knock out’ a presentation, offer a webinar, or write an article. We are in a ‘swamp’ of material ‘up to our necks’.

We are making innovation complex, needlessly complicated and increasingly unattractive. We are failing in really “moving that innovation needle” because we are getting more and more people simply “tuning out” and the more we try, the more they reject this and then seemingly tune out even more. We are simply the dog chasing its own tail and enjoying it because we know no better.

I just feel we are all getting a little frantic in offering free advice…

How can we get back to the basics within innovation, those that can put to simplification back in innovation? Well actually getting back to the basics on anything come to think of it?

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Paul Hobcraft runs Agility Innovation, an advisory business that stimulates sound innovation practice, researches topics that relate to innovation for the future, as well as aligning innovation to organizations core capabilities. Find him @paul4innovating

Paul Hobcraft

Paul Hobcraft is recognized for his consistency to champion and informs on innovation. He focuses on building innovation capacity, competencies, and capabilities and promotes innovation in informative, creative and knowledgeable ways, piecing together the broader understanding of innovation. Paul continually constructs a series of novel and relevant frameworks to help advance this innovation understanding and writes mainly through his posting site of where he regularly publishes his thinking and research based on solutions that underpin his advisory, coaching and consulting work at




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