Innovation ‘Judo’

Disarm roadblocks on the path to creativity

It turns out that innovation isn’t just about coming up with some new ideas. It’s also about forging a path to their success. That means selling them to the decision-makers and—long term—developing a culture that truly embraces trying something new.

Neal Thornberry, Ph.D., is an innovation expert who advises not letting organizational “wackiness” kill great ideas.

“Organizational design wackiness is not usually generated on purpose or with malice; instead it usually develops over time and starts out with the best of intentions,” writes Thornberry in his book, Innovation Judo: Disarming Roadblocks and Blockheads on the Path to Creativity. If the unintended consequences of wackiness “are not monitored and modified, then the wackiness factor grows.”

Faculty director for innovation initiatives at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Executive Education, Monterey, Calif., Thornberry cites the following example of organizational wackiness:

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