Innovation Audiences

Day 129 Week 19 Q2 Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Three groups need to know more about Innovation for it to be less problematic for each other and to more smoothly deliver its potential results to organizations and society at large. Innovators, creatives, and decision-makers are all stakeholders in this important dance. These distinctly different groups do not necessarily understand each other as they do not have the same priorities. We tend to see the world as we are, inaccurately projecting who we are upon who we encounter. 

The largest group of the three I call creatives, with the most potent subset of them thought to be creative outliers.  Creative outliers are the ones who stand out as more creative than the rest and often by a substantial margin. They are the ones who remain creative, despite society’s socialization process that tends to inhibit creativity.  Compared to adults, all children are born as creative outliers, for it is the primary means by which they adapt and earn to be in the world. Creative outliers stay creative for a simple reason, it gives their lives a great deal of meaning. They enjoy creating more than consuming, as it makes them feel good. 

Decision-makers generally prefer to remain in their decision-making capacities. This causes them to attempt to inhibit creativity due to the real fear that creativity might cause change. And with a change, they might not remain in charge. They are not wrong, change is risky, and innovators eventually vanquish leaders unwilling to change.

As innovators generally arise out of the population of creative outliers, it feels reasonable for many to try to dissuade the creatives from becoming creative outliers, thereby reducing the potential population of innovators. 

But there are potential conflicts here. Decision makers want to keep their jobs, creative outliers stubbornly resist giving up on being creative because it is. part of their identity, and innovators, perhaps the most recalcitrant group of the three, are mostly involuntary. We do not innovate because we are told to, told not to, or told anything at all. We innovate because we have to. We see situations and say to ourselves and anyone else around, oh, that can be improved. We can change that. Why are you doing it the way? 

Many parents reasonably attempt to direct their offspring away from boat-rocking fiscally insecure professions. They properly reason that becoming a well-educated, licensed, respected professional like a doctor or lawyer is safer.

Unfortunately, creative outliers are the subset of creative stubborn enough to continue to be creative in the face of societal opposition despite the risk, for it gives their lives meaning. And innovators who come from the population of creative outliers are even harder to convince to stop being creative because, in our enthusiasm to “improve things,” we often do not recognize external authority.

There is room for disagreement here, and innovators do need to become more circumspect about the priorities and needs of others who are not unreasonably afraid of risk. There is room for risk prudence, a concept to be described later.