On why innovation theatre is disrespectful
Time is precious. Don't waste it.
Management has invested time, effort, and money to analyse trends and come up with a series of challenges that the company must overcome in order to stay competitive.
After several hours of brainstorming somebody suggests that they should include the whole organisation—an idea everybody vehemently agrees with.
A project manager is appointed, and the work is done. Communication plans are drafted, events planned, shows organised—this is bound to become real!
Some employees are enthusiastic—"I’ll finally be able to share my idea!"—others are reserved and sceptical—"Yet another merry-go-round. The only person that’ll benefit from this is the project manager..."
Finally, ideas are gathered, sorted, listed, prioritised, summarised, documented, and duly ignored. By the time this ideation process has completed, the management has moved on.
And what about those people that have submitted their ideas?
Well, the winner of the best idea has been paraded around, featured in internal and external publications, and maybe even received a promotion.
And what about all those whose ideas were rejected? Nothing, they haven’t heard a thing. Keep going, business as usual.
Described scenario, often referred to as "innovation theatre," is a mash-up of different occurrences I’ve witnessed.
I do not know which is worse—robbing the employees of the possibility to express their potential and creativity, or pretending to offer them that possibility.
Every organisation that claims to be ethical and socially responsible, while continuously failing to provide opportunities for meaningful work is delusional at best, and deceptive at worst.
There is nothing more disrespectful than wasting the potential and creativity of employees. Our time on this world is limited, and it should be treated with due care and respect.
It's up to each and everyone of us to co-create space for mutual respect and reciprocity.
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