How to Work with Innovation Killers
Although we live in an age that glorifies innovation, there is a big difference between theoretically advocating for it and being able (or willing) to actually implement it. None of this is really new.
From Schumpeter’s classic definition of innovation as “creative destruction” to recent portrayals of innovators as disruptors or constructive nonconformist, we have known for years that the people and processes that enable innovation are often undesirable, not least because of the ubiquitous human fear of the unknown. As Slavoj Žižek points out, few things are as violent – psychologically speaking – as change, and the violence of change is what makes people cling to the familiar, even when they hypothetically embrace change. Indeed, whether the goal is to change oneself or one’s environment, most people don’t want to change – what they want is to have changed. “Take this pill and you’ll be smarter, slimmer, happier, richer” – everybody would sign up for that. Now if the deal is to follow a specific set of instructions that may or not, after a great deal of effort, suffering, and persistence, create the desired change, then the uptake will be rather smaller.
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Authored by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic.