How to Overcome Innovation and Change Fatigue

How to Overcome Innovation and Change Fatigue

Alvin Toffler passed away in June 2016 at the age of 87. The author of Future Shock, he warned us almost 50 years ago about the effects of change and our unpreparedness to address it.

We are now suffering some the consequences he predicted by not being aware of the signs, symptoms and treatment of, what he called, the disease of change.

For those people who deliver, manage and lead sick care, change is happening quickly. Rapid change leads to change fatigue. The cumulative effect of continual and overlapping change has left staff increasingly stressed, burned out, and overwhelmed. This will negatively impact not only staff engagement and retention but also organizational success. Even with effective change management, change initiatives will ultimately fail if staff remain in this state of fatigue. It is one of the reasons why doctor burnout levels are rising to historic proportions.

For startups trying to sell their products and services or find strategic development partners, decision maker and end user change fatique can send even the best salespeople to the sidelines and put your development and revenue milestones on hold.

Understanding the epidemiology and signs and symptoms of change fatigue is the first step in the diagnosis and treatment of the syndrome, But, when it comes to overcoming “I’ve just got too much on my plate right now” objection, here are some tips to overcoming it:

  1. Make your solution as easy to use and buy as possible
  2. Do all of the work and be sure to give the client all of the credit for success. Be there when they need you and pay attention to service after the sale.
  3. It is always easier to pass on a new idea that might be successful than embrace and deploy an idea that might fail. Address the issue up front and create a sense of urgency by providing evidence, data and peer testimonials
  4. Create buzz on social media by succinctly and professionally telling your story so that clients seek you out or at least have an understanding of what you are selling and why.
  5. The old saw goes that is you want to get something done, find someone who is busy. That does not always work. Find an internal champion for your products who has the internal motivation and mindset to be an innovator or early adopter
  6. Give the internal champion all the tools and support they need to build the team to drive the idea through the organization and overcome the significant barriers to intrapreneurial success. Find those how have developed a resistance to the corporate immune system that seeks to snuff out innovation.
  7. Do a better job of sub-segmenting your target users, influencers and buyers and craft the value proposition specifically to them. For example, doctors want to know 1) how will this help my patients, 2) how will this save me time and improve workflow and practice efficiency, 3) what’s in it for me , and 4) what’s in it for my organization? Others want to know how it will save them money, lower costs or build market share
  8. Stop selling. Practice strategic account leadership, particularly if you have a business-to-business model. Your goal is create meaningful multiples of user defined value, not sell a product that might be obsolete in 2 years.
  9. Use video, professional production techniques and marketing communications platforms that are repetitive, redundant and relational to tell your story and that clearly explains your value proposition
  10. Don’t try to beat a dead horse. Understand what are the strategic objectives of your potential users/customers, what are the gaps in achieving it and whether your product fills those gaps. It if does not, then move on.

Innovation fatigue feeds change fatigue as customers become cynical, resistant and even hostile to solutions looking for problems.

Sales is about understanding objections and overcoming them. Change fatigue is becoming almost epidemic so you will need a well honed sales , marketing and communication strategy to get it to manageable and treatable levels.

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Arlen MyersArlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at

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Arlen Meyers

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is an emeritus professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine ,teaches bioentrepreneurship and is Chief Medical Officer for Bridge Health and Cliexa. He is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at and author of the Life Science Innovation Roadmap.




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