Managing And Innovation Don’t Always Mix

Managing and innovation did not always fit comfortably together. That’s not surprising. Managers are people who like order. They like forecasts to come out as planned. In fact, managers are often judged on how much order they produce. Innovation, on the other hand, is often a disorderly process. Many times, perhaps most times, innovation does not turn out as planned. As a result, there is tension between managers and innovation.

— Lewis Lehro, about the first years at 3M

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4 thoughts on “Managing And Innovation Don’t Always Mix

  1. Tension exists only when there are poor managers. Good managers nurture innovators, encourage creativity, and provide a buffer to the rest of the world. Sure, good managers produce order, but if that’s all that’s needed, hire an accountant or a police officer (no disrespect meant to either profession).

  2. My assumption is that it is not necessarily management, but too MUCH management. ANd that seems to happen when levels of hierarchy in management are put in place to manage growth. Smaller organizations tend not to have the same obstacles, mostly cause they don’t have umpteen levels of managers.

    P

  3. “but don’t let them tell you how you should innovate!”

    There’s the rub. You can’t tell people how to innovate. You just have to create a place where it can happen.

    Of course, that’s a pretty big “just”.

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