Good Management Practice is the death for Innovation!

InnovationThis will be a short but provocative post.



Good Management practice as I have learned and practiced over many years is symbolised in 2 simple statements


  • risk management
  • following the rules


I don’t expect many to say this being vastly different. Good management is looking at risks and selecting the most appropriate action for mitigation. Good management is also following the code of conduct, adhering to the local legislation and complying with rules and regulations.


Innovation is quite opposite to this. And I blogged about this before. Innovations 2 cornerstones are

  • taking risks
  • breaking the rules


Innovation is doing something new, something different, combining 2 well known elements in a way that nobody thought of before, and even using 2 elements together that don’t seem fitting together well. To be innovative you must break the rules. Playing by the rules will only result in a predictable outcome because it is using old information in a known manner. By definition, innovation is using existing knowledge in a new manner.


Hence my question:

Is good management practice hindering innovation?


I think it is and innovative organisations have long adapted to this. They have special teams or task forces that live outside the company standard. They have but one task break the rules and come up with the next disruptive idea like the iPod.

I just recently read an article that Sony was far better placed then Apple to develop the iPod. They had the walkman, they had the hardware technology, they had the UI engineers, and they had the software engineers. What they didn’t have was a single task force. They had multiple powerful divisions who played by the corporate rules. Apple had a single dedicated team.


Maybe good management practice need to have escape routes for special situations like Innovation Teams.

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