"Every organization has innovation killers lurking within." - James Dallas
In the age of constant technological disruption, every organization and its leaders within them are trying to become more innovative. Unfortunately, very few will be successful. The ones that fail won't be because they don't have good new ideas within them--they will because those ideas/innovations will get killed in torturous ways. When it happens, the people who came up with the ideas are all of a sudden gone in mysterious ways. Short memos go out saying, "They left to pursue other opportunities." I refer to this as "Freddy Krueger Syndrome."
To prevent Freddy from striking, you have to figuratively not go asleep while leading innovation. Here are the four things to do stay awake (i.e., the "NoDoz" for innovators).
Don't bring a lot of spotlight to the innovation. Keep it very low-key until it is proven that it will work. (Paradoxically, a lot of daylight on something or someone is what causes Freddy to target them at night.)
Keep the project team very small. No more than 5 people. (Big teams also attract Freddy.)
Have at least one person on the project team who has successfully fought Freddy before within that organization/culture. That person will know what method is the most successful in fighting off Freddy. Note:You can never kill Freddy. Your goal is to make sure he doesn't kill you and your innovation. (i.e., let him kill some other innovation in which the leader fell asleep.)
Don't give the project a name. Freddy goes after people/innovations that have names like "Transformational, Game-Changer, etc." Those names attract him like a bee to honey.
How do I know about Freddy and what to do to fight him off? I have many scars from times in which he killed my innovation but didn't kill me. Those stories are for another blog.
In closing, organizations fail at being innovative not because they don't have good ideas; they fail because they fall asleep and Freddy killed the ideas and the innovation leader(s).