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I think the truth is that innovation has somewhat of a tainted image honestly. I think CEOs hear the word innovation and it conjures up in their minds these innovation rooms filled with beanbag chairs, the bunch of employees are sitting in them and they're throwing paper airplanes and they're innovating right? It drives them crazy. It's a big waste of time and energy, and it's frustrating when CEOs see this type of commitment in these efforts.
They're a little jaded when you come up to them and say, "Hey, look. There's this approach "to innovation that is systematic." At first they just don't buy it. I learned this lesson very well when I had to go into a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company. The teams in that company had used and piloted this method and found some success with it, but it trickled up to the senior leadership, the CEO and his staff.
I was asked to come and present to them, and tell them the story about systematic creativity and how it can work in their company. Just as I was about to walk in the room, I mean literally as the door opened up the CEO walks out. He shakes my hand and says, "Drew, nice to meet you." He said, "Do me a favor. "Whatever you do please don't give us "the innovation equivalent of "The 12 Steps to Sobriety "because we've heard it all." That's when it kind of rang the bell for me.
That's their frustration. They're so used to gurus coming in and professors, and consultants coming in and telling them all this stuff about why innovation is important. Guess what? They don't need to hear why it's important. They already know. What companies want to hear is the how. Tell me how. Make it repeatable, and make it sustainable. I'm happy to say in that 45 minute session with this executive committee of this company, the CEO looked to the left and right and said, "We're doing this." He got it, but he had to experience it himself.
That is something that applies really up and down the chain of command in any organization. People have to see it to believe it. I get that. That's what happened to me before I was willing to buy into this method, or any method, I have to experience it first.
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