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CAIL Innovation Blog

To Make Innovation More Rewarding – avoid the “Norm Police”

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While the “ Norm Police “ are typically well-meaning people, they are good at voicing their opinion that frequently opposes or indicates a reservation on “ the new ” . This is because change is an issue. And they usually don’t realize they are shackled to what they know (the current and the past). They believe they have a moral and ethical right to make sure nobody wanders too far off the bell curve of what they consider normal behavior. Worse, they’re often very convincing and indicate their concerns in a way that initially is empathetic and caring. However, what the “Norm Police “ are doing is assuring themselves and others there are good reasons why things are the way they are with known processes, assumptions, results, etc. – and they’re as valid as ever – and apply to everyone.

Further, for them to acknowledge another person having ambition, creativity, courage, etc. to articulate an innovation or entrepreneurial initiative – means they either don’t have those qualities or they can’t change (unchain themselves). Because of this, people acting as “ Norm Police “ frequently ignore, chastise, demean, etc. those trying to effect change.

This is a great example of the “Peter Principle” (rising to one’s level of incompetence), or a situation where “people can’t lead and won’t follow”, or an environment with the “lowest common denominator syndrome” (people with the least knowledge making decisions).

In closing, “ innovating for impact “ to meaningfully improve outcomes is very rewarding (when done well) and a complete waste of time and money (if done poorly).

Since the future of any organization is highly dependent on successfully doing the different forms of innovation, additional insights are at  and with others in the innovation ecosystem.

Nov 27, 2019       –                       CAIL Innovation commentary          

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