The situation of this cartoon was suggested by Dan Morrill, on how organizations frequently approach new ideas.
Organizations give mixed signals with innovation. There is pressure to come up with breakthrough new ideas that will push the business forward. Yet there is simultaneous resistance to any ideas that are actually breakthrough. It’s an innovation catch-22.
As a result, organizations can get stuck in a rut of incrementalism — only launching ideas that are close to what’s been done before.
Innovation inherently pushes organizations out of their comfort zones. It is uncomfortable to do things that are new. And yet, if we’re going to to step out of the rut of incrementalism, we have to learn to get more comfortable being uncomfortable.
That includes how we evaluate risk. Organizations are experts at identifying the risks of a new idea. But there’s often a blind spot to the risks of not taking those risks. Playing it safe can be the riskiest risk of all.
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years: