Industrial Research Institute Provides New Review of Conquering Innovation Fatigue

A new review of Conquering Innovation Fatigue was just published on the website of the Industrial Research Institute ( The review is written by Robert J. Kumpf, the Chairman of IRI’s Board of Directors and the Chief Administrative Officer of Bayer Material Science, LLC. Here is an excerpt–see the IRI website for the full review.

The authors of Conquering Innovation Fatigue immediately captured my sympathy with the observation that “Few things make creative people wearier than empty talk about innovation.” Although it is encouraging that the topic of “innovation” is increasingly seen as important, the downside is that many “experts” are simply recycling well-known concepts. Jeffrey Lindsay, Cheryl Perkins and Mukund Karanjikar are experienced practitioners who offer useful insights into the personal, organizational, and societal challenges an innovator must overcome.

The authors structure their discussion around nine different “fatigue factors” that they group broadly into three classes: people fatigue, organization-level fatigue, and external fatigue. People fatigue factors describe elements that lead to fatigue in individual innovators, including:

  1. Theft of the invention and exploitation of inventors
  2. Innovator deficiencies (e.g., unreasonable expectations, impatience, unhealthy pride).
  3. The NIH syndrome (“Not Invented Here”)
  4. Organization-level fatigue arises from the company’s strategy, culture, and actions, and includes:

  5. Breaking the will to share (loss of cooperation from the innovation community)
  6. Fundamental flaws in decision making and vision
  7. Open innovation fatigue (corporate barriers to external innovation and collaboration)
  8. External fatigue originates with factors external to the individual innovator and to the organization, including:

  9. Patent pain: barriers to intellectual property protection.
  10. Regulatory pain: challenges in policy, regulation, and law.
  11. University-industry barriers.

The book offers some compelling examples of innovation from the prolific inventor with an unforgettable name—Philo T. Farnsworth. Although the story of Farnsworth and RCA is generally well known, the details are worth recalling. The authors build on the Farnsworth story to examine the issues around innovation fatigue in individuals.

The strongest parts of the book, however, are those chapters that examine innovation fatigue factors that are tied to organizations. These chapters—which also include examples from the touring company of The Lion King—offer the most important lesson in the book: “Employees can be paid to offer their time and energy to the corporation but in spite of what might be on a contract, they will only share their best ideas when they feel personally motivated to do so.” This fact is at the core of the challenge that many organizations face. It is expressed in phrases like “if only ____ knew what ____ knew” (fill in the blanks with your company or organization). These chapters are well worth reading and rereading….

Full review: go to the bottom of the page at”

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