"Paralysed by an innate fear of failure, they fail to disrupt and fail to innovate."
Innovation is a debate. A fight. An argument. In a nation of lovers not fighters, the robust conversations we need to have to propel innovation don't happen as often as they should.
Innovation is about adding value and it can take many forms. It can vary from a slight pivot in a process to a tweak in a product that results in positive outcomes - or it can be an idea that revolutionises an entire industry. We just need to be open to evolution - it's a mindset and it starts with a conversation.
Unfortunately, some people find short term safety in complacency. Like nomads, they shift from company to company, department to department doing what they've always done. They fuck innovation. They let good ideas slide because they're either lazy, incompetent, selfish or scared.
Paralysed by an innate fear of failure, they fail to disrupt and fail to innovate. They fail to realise their actions slow the progress of their company and industry. They wait to be disrupted and then they become irrelevant. Worse still, they move to another business and fuck it up all over again.
These are the head nodders in our teams. The ones who high five us in the board room for our ideas but are secretly happy with the status quo and won't change a thing.
Fact is they need to flip their thinking. We all need to change. We're navigating through disruptive times in what is the new world disorder. From tech to politics - this is a new game with no rule book and we can write our own story by building teams that embrace innovation.
 Help people realise the pain points of not changing. Highlight the risk of them losing their job, not achieving career advancement and not hitting financial goals - all because nothing changes. There's no safety in staying or doing the same anymore. Your business can get disrupted and everything can change over night.
 Help build a culture of fast experimentation. Bring your ideas to life, test and refine them. If they fly - brilliant. If they don't - it's a lesson. We're allowed to fail and fail fast - take learnings from one project to the next. Lean on internal and external stakeholders for different perspectives and share knowledge through collaboration.
 Drive a culture that rewards ideation and creative problem solving. Acknowledge team and individual contribution and reward accordingly. Embrace experimentation and reward the behaviour you need in your organisation - reward curiosity, reward innovative thinking and reward creative problem solving. Think Pavlov.
As for the innovation fuckers and their insecurities + complexities - don't let them hold you back. If somebody doesn't want to help themselves, there's only so much you can do to help them. Just move forward and start. Don't just sit there, do something. Start.
Even in startups and progressive organisations, good ideas don't happen because we fail to start. Sometimes the people around us are to blame and sometimes it's us. We can all be innovation blockers - negative attitudes, fears and comfort zones - it can be a contagion.
Life's all too brief to not take a chance. 30,000 days - that's all we get if we're lucky enough to live to 80. When you quantify our lifetime like that - our perspective needs to shift. Urgency must kick in. It's time to pick a fight. Make a difference. Change ways. Innovate. Challenge. Shift. Disrupt.
You don't need to have all the ideas, as long as you help enable them - be positive, curious and explore new ways of doing things. Just don't be an innovation fucker.
"The Apple guy concluded my battery was in fact on its last legs."
I’ve been an Apple fanboy since before it was cool. I’ve always loved the contemplated design, functionality and community. In our home you'll find over 30 Apple devices - both retired and currently in use. From an early iPhone to the iPod Shuffle - MacBooks, iPads, Apple Watches and everything else in between.
3 years ago I purchased the iPhone 6 Plus shortly after its launch. It took a little while to get use to the larger screen and the bulge in my back pocket but this star piece of tech soon replaced my iPad and reduced the time I spent on my MacBook. I loved it. I was more connected and effective than ever before.
Three years down the track and a few iOS updates later the battery failed me. Thankfully, Apple being a consumer focused company had a plan. Apple’s PR machine proudly touted the battery replacement program - $39 AUD for a new battery for the iPhone 6 Plus and it’s almost as good as new!
Book me in. So I made my appointment at the Genius Bar on Apple’s website [noting that I needed a battery for the iPhone 6 Plus - an important detail to remember] and patiently waited.
A week later, I made the long the trek from one side of town to the other and arrived for my appointment 12 minutes early - as noted by the Apple employee who welcomed me. I happily waited. When my time came, I was greeted again by a cheerful Apple rep and I explained my predicament.
“Mmm...,” I see, emphathised the young man. After running a diagnostic test, the Apple guy concluded my battery was in fact on its last legs . “We can definitely replace the battery,” he announced.
“Great, let’s do it,” I responded. That’s when his facial expression changed.
He explained there were no iPhone 6 Plus batteries currently in stock in Australia! Not one in the whole country! He said I was entitled to order a battery for $39 but it wouldn’t arrive until April. April? It was only January. I was heading overseas the following week and needed a fully functional phone. I couldn’t wait until April!
My head was spinning - I was confused. A heavily promoted battery replacement program with no stock availability in Australia until April? Mmm…suspicious. But apparently there was hope.
“Given there’s also an issue wIth your volume button, you’re entitled to a phone replacement,” Mr Cheery proclaimed. I could have hugged him.
Thank you, thank you, thank you Apple. This is why you rock.
“Not so fast,” Mr Cheery continued. The clincher.
"The cost of the new iPhone, as a special price to you as a valued customer, is $469 and the good news is, we have them in stock.” He delivered the line like a true sales professional. “I can get you one now.” Bang. He just closed me.
“If you don’t want like for like, I’d be more than happy to help you upgrade to an 8 or an X,” he just doubled closed me.
So let me get this right. Apple knew I was coming in store for my Genius Bar appointment to replace an iPhone 6 Plus battery - they also knew they didn’t have the batteries in stock. Why let me come in? I was being blatantly upsold. Lure them in and sell them hard. Apple was trying to sell me another phone for over $1,000, when all I wanted was to upgrade my battery for $39.
Thank you but no thanks I’ll wait till April.
Has this happened to you? Is this an Apple sales strategy? Please say it ain’t so. Either way, as frustrating as the situation is, I'm still hopelessly devoted to Apple. Loyal to a fault or locked in? You be the judge.
Pic: TIME Magazine