WATCH: Do You Have An Innovation Mindset?

Today, I’m going to talk about ‘The Paradox of Innovation’. It’s one of the twelve paradoxes designed and developed by Dr. Dan Harrison.


The Paradox of Innovation

So, the traits involved in The Paradox of Innovation are: ‘Persistence’ and ‘Experimentation’. Where persistence is just to continue persisting with things even despite encountering significant obstacles. 

And experimentation, is about trying new things and looking to see where new things can be done in a new way. So, if you take the paradoxical nature of these, they could seem to be opposite but in fact when they come together form something synergistic, which is being ‘Inventive’. So, if we look at persistence we can see if we’re only being persistent and not experimenting. We can end up in this quadrant up here which is ‘Stubborn Persistence’ and just continue to fight on through gritted teeth when you’re not even getting results. And, if we’re very experimenting and just love trying new things but don’t have that balance of persistence. We could end up ‘Non-Finishing’ and not getting things done either. Not getting the results we need. 

And many managers and leaders can fall into this when it comes to the latest management fad. And, they go “Oh, let’s try this I read this book or I just heard this consultant speak at a seminar. Let’s try this!” And they don’t really see it through. They don’t continue when encountering significant obstacles and then just try the next thing. And say “That didn’t work try the next thing!” Because, they’re not actually being persistent enough. So, what you need in order to be inventive is to have this balance of Persistence and Experimenting. 

And, then you get inventive. Because you’re actually cancelling out the downside of this and you’re cancelling out the downside of that. Another thing to be aware of with this and that’s the beauty of these paradoxes is that if we’re in a non- finishing, we’re not going to get the results we want. And, then we’re getting Frustrated, we get stressed, and actually may continue to doggedly continue with something even though it’s the wrong thing to be being doggedly continuing with. And also, when we have stubborn persistence, sometimes it’s a niggling fear that we don’t want to not be finishing. We don’t want to get into just trying new things all the time. So, we carry on with something when in fact we try something new. 

So, be aware of the imbalances in what your preferences are, what the preferences of your team are. Or what the preferences of business is. So, you need to think that through and see that you’re getting a balance of both traits in order to get inventive in what you do.


With best regards,

David Klaasen 

Talent4Performance help business leaders clarify complexity. We inspire people and drive continuous performance improvement, so they can convert thinking into action and results. 

©David Klaasen – 2014