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How to win the innovation battle.

Innovation can easily become a source of social tension. It is the struggle between the old and the new.

It is important for innovators and entrepreneurs to understand this tension. They must understand why the new is resisted despite its benefits.

Generally, innovators are not prepared for the backlash that comes with innovation. And yes, innovation is a battle and in some cases, war. Now, how do you win this battle? Here are five tips.

Study the Status Quo: Innovation is a battle. Why? Because of two clashing, equally important needs. First, the need for society to advance into the future, which requires innovation. Second, the need for the maintenance of continuity, social order and stability. The status quo meets the second need. Society needs stability as much as it needs innovation.

So, as an innovator, it is vital to constantly study to understand the status quo. Ignore the status quo at your own risk. Good knowledge of the status quo is part of a great innovation strategy.

Play a Long Game: Let's be clear: the status quo will always push back because people's stability is normally threatened by the new. The status quo can easily (and will try to) crush you even before your idea takes off the ground because it generally has more power and resources. So, be patient. Wisely learn to play a long game.

Know Your Craft: To the status quo, most innovators or innovative ideas are a joke. Why? Because, often, the people trying to drive innovation are sloppy, unorganized with little or no management skills. So, if you must play in the innovation space, be great at your craft. Be disciplined, focused, professional and get results that the status quo can respect.

Find Loopholes: The status quo has loopholes. Search for the loopholes and strategically take advantage of them. Find ways to chip away at the status quo with your knowledge of its loopholes. Loopholes are cracks and questions in the status quo. To gain ground, your new system must be able to answer the questions and repair the cracks.

Develop Great Negotiation Skills: Often, innovators are consumed by the 'awesomeness' of their idea that they forget that they need the buy-in of the larger society for it to work. Hence, the need for good negotiation skills - this is important to drive innovation. This is vital because you don't only think up a new idea, you must know how to sell your idea for it to spread.

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Apr 13, 2019
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