Why is it so difficult to get innovations off the ground ?

Organisations the wish to (or realistically said must) innovate have often difficulties of letting go their worn out business model when markets suddenly (?) seem changed.
But even if they recognize the need for change, they tend to have a hard time realising it. Anyway, to innovate top-down is hardly possible, whereas innovation is a bottom-up process by trial and error. Sad enough, especially when the need for innovation urges.

Crisis or challenge

As you probably have heard before, the Chinese concept for Crisis contains two different characters. One for 'threat' and one for 'opportunity'. The Chinese assume that there is a coherence between the two seemingly contradictory notions. And that a crisis is not just threatening but that it also offers new possibilities.

According to Ties Dams, scientist at the Institute Clingendael and author of the book 'The new Emperor' about Xi Jinping, the Coronavirus offers an exceptional opportunity for Xi: 'In ten years time, we will have to recognize that China's geopolitical rise has not been delayed by the Corona crisis.
In the long term, China's advance will even have accelerated, especially when Trumps mis-management of the crisis and the ongoing political polarisation in the United States will have contributed largely to the erosion of America's mondial reputation.

A crisis in an enterprise may already originate during the heyday of its success. A phase in which the governors fail to pay enough attention to the world outside. The turning point is not recognized either. Gradually results tend to reduce, but intervention seems not necessary, despite some restless feelings.
The management keeps on focussing on the (formerly successful) business model, until it is obvious that the company faces a crisis. And that the organisation may not really know how to cope with it.

The psychological root cause of this phenomenon is pretty good explained in Peter Robertson's publication 'Always change a winning team'*]:
In all living mechanisms and organisms, especially also in humans, organisations and in societies, the  S-curve forms a leading pattern: birth, development and growth, decadence and decline.

*] Peter P. Robertson, 2005, Always Change a Winning Team, Why reinvention and change are prerequisites for Business Success.

In the Netherlands we say: 'when the need is greatest, salvation is near'.
This obviously is not always true, but something interesting generally happens:
we see, during a crisis, a flourishing human creativity, especially under 'ordinary people'. But substantially less under managers, who are fixed with their economic models (and those models do not take care of the things outside the scope they were designed with).

The kind of problems we discuss here are often hard to solve within the existing context. We call them 'wicked problems'. And possible solution alternatives seem generally contradictory. Often they are the consequence of disrupting developments.

Entrepreneurship and leadership do not only include the running of an organisation, based on a KPI-model (Key Performance Indicators), but they include as well the capability to cope with 'wicked problems'. The difficult thing is that it is not easy to find the proper solutions. Besides the capability of thinking outside-the-box', for approaching 'wicked problems' one needs the  in-depth understanding of pros and cons of different solution alternatives. But here, our own brain fails us. 
Our own personality causes, that we may be able to see the consequences of a certain solution direction, but this may mean that we cannot at all see de consequences of the alternatives of the opposite direction. Our brain is biased by our personality. 
If we want to be able to see the other type of solutions, we only can analyse a broader scope of solutions with a diverse team, with different personalities, thinking styles and role-patterns.

A hidden power

Fortunetely, organisations have a hidden power at their disposal: the imagination and creativity of their own employees! Workers, especially those without a formal management role. Professionals, who operate independently and who do a good job and who represent the core quality of the organisation. 
If the organisation would appeal to them to contribute in innovation activities, by participating in a special 'think-tank', they probably will not only be prepared, they will be extra motivated and feel appreciated.

LDpe, the initiator of the Bluefinger Innovation Center, has developed a special approach. The program Gearing Up Innovation, which is enabled by a unique toolset, the Advanced Team Design Tool (ATD). The ATD enables us to design creative teams, based on the unique personalities of the individual participants.
This approach is been used by the Bluefinger Innovation Center.
In the program Gearing Up Innovation LDpe has the ability to design creative teams, based on a diversity of personality traits.
In this program, managers get other roles than 'non-managers' and even other people may be included, than those employed by the organisation.


The Creative Synthesis

The Bluefinger Innovation Center elaborates on the analysis of 'wicked problems' and the synthesis of creative solutions. This is done by carefully designed working teams.
The composition of these working teams is based on a diversity of thinking styles and team role preferences, mapped through the personality assessment of the different team members.
We co-operate with learning centers, consultants and coaches. And we operate while combining working, learning, innovating and at the same time developing people and organisations.
Innovation, after all, emerges through interaction between people. Innovative thinking and pioneering entrepreneurship will arise after the discovery of possibilities not earlier identified.