Avoid the Corporate Chilling Effect on Innovation


A heavy-handed or micromanaging approach to handling a community of innovators in a corporation often has an unintended chilling effect that can put the freeze on innovation. Avoid this innovation fatigue factor by respecting your innovators, listening to them, and giving them the freedom to apply their talents within the constraints required for the project.

As we emphasize in our book, innovation takes place in the minds of individuals. Bonds of trust and mutual respect are essential to maintain the tenuous “will to share” that leads members of your innovation community to share their best thinking and their creative energy for the good of the corporation. Treating them with disrespect, as mere handymen or even children, in some cases, or imposing capricious or unfair changes upon them, or attempting to micromanage them, can break those bonds and leave them unengaged. If you don’t have their hearts, you don’t have their minds.

To increase your success with your innovation community, it’s time for you to tune in to the “Voice of the Innovator” and understand their issues, their thinking, and their needs. Success often begins with listening and healthy two-way communication. But just reaching in to stir things up and squeeze them with high-pressure tactics might create an ice-block in your innovation pipeline.

From (Jeff Lindsay’s Magic Innovation channel): “Avoid the Corporate Chilling Effect on Innovation,” August 17, 2009. Recorded in Appleton, Wisconsin. All rights reserved.


  1. Steve Todd says:

    As an EMC intrapreneur I can confirm your view. My corporation runs world-wide idea contests, where every employee can submit an idea as part of a level playing field. All ideas are treated with respect by the corporation, and even if the ideas don’t make the final cut of the contest, the inventors are encouraged to move forward.

Our Mission is the official blog for the new book, Conquering Innovation Fatigue. Here we provide supplementary innovation, news, tips, updates, and, when needed, a correction or two, to keep those who are using the big on the inside edge for innovation success.