Now here's a thing ...
I've recently experienced a very graphic demonstration of just how slow a large enterprise can be to adopt a simple, low-cost innovation. (I'll mention no names, but you know who you are, insurance company X!)
So a provocation (a "po") seems in order ...
'What if you were you own company in your own right: A company of one? Would you tolerate excess delay to implementation?
No. I'll tell you exactly what would happen ...
- There's no way in the world you'd suffer ten or more naysayers to every good idea -- they wouldn't be there to naysay!
- You wouldn't need ten or more "specialists" to vet every idea, half of whom are unavailable to talk at any given time
- The facade of the business case would be present, but not dominant
- Gut instinct would have a place
- Change wouldn't strike fear into the workforce in quite so compelling a way
- Attack (improvement) would matter more than defence (preservation)
Is any of this instructive? I like to think so.
Sometimes we have to act like we work in a company of one, to get things done. If we want our creativity-inspired ideas to go anywhere, then we'll need to think small.
I've coached the sole ideas evangelist in the offending company to assume responsibility for what is, after all, a small, powerful, self-contained idea. He plans to push it through, end-to-end, to see it realised. This means constant effervescence, and the adaptability to do lots of different types of leg-work for himself.
But what's his reward?
Money? ... Unlikely.
Recognition? ... Maybe.
Self-satisfaction? Yes. It has to be that.
And perhaps something even better: There's something wearyingly comparable about large enterprises and their take on "new stuff". If he can push this through, with a smidgen of moral support from me, then maybe we have a model for evangelistic innovation, which would yield results in a hundred other UK plcs.?
Fingers crossed. I'll let you know.