In my last post, I discussed a well-written, no-nonsense article by Max McKeown in which he discusses fear and other reasons why some organizations still hesitate to go beyond their walls for new ideas and approaches.
Fear of venturing outside your walls, resistance to new (and seemingly radical) ways of developing and commercializing ideas – these are all reasons that good ideas are often, sadly, “shelved if they aren't a direct fit to existing product plans and roadmaps.”
What’s more, in what I see as a harsh but, again, fairly accurate assessment of the ongoing slow pace at which corporations venture out of the proverbial box,: “Corporate deadlines are demanding enough without volunteering to take risks on orphan ideas.” Why take on a rogue idea or approach when it’s easier to do what’s safe and stick with the same-old-way of operating?
Some companies do a great job of seeking out ideas and idea people, of integrating their unique ways of doing and thinking into an existing environment, all the while benefiting from the differences in culture and approach. At the very least, McKeown writes, the ones who are the most fearful of new ideas need to “be open to those ideas when they come to your attention.”
Case in point:
In 1944, a small and “obscure” producer of photographic paper, Haloid, took on an idea that had previously been rejected by the likes of General Electric, IBM and RCA. Haloid renamed this new idea "xerography." Long story short, Haloid’s photocopier took on the name Xerox and two years later, the company's revenues were $60 million.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Be open to ideas. Be open to new ways of developing those ideas. Just be open.