Control Does not Foster Innovation

Helene Blowers linked to an article from Fast Company called The New Rules of Innovation. The last rule was, of course, my favorite:

Rule # 6 – Innovation is about breaking rules, so ignore any or all of the above.

Innovation is about thinking outside of the box which often means outside of the rules as well. Do not be confused that I am arguing against rules. Rules are good things, but only when we know when they can and should be broken or bent.

If you are having a problem encouraging innovation at YPOW, maybe there are too many rules.

Perhaps there are too many hurdles, in IT, in management, in the lower rungs, in time, or money. Some things are hard to fix, like time and money, but they too can be manipulated. Both can be found be reworking priorities. We can find both, but it may be painful and librarians love, more than books, avoiding confrontations at all costs. Reworking priorities is all about confronting the unpleasant, but we must start doing this.

Perhaps, as I suggested previously, your workers feel alienated because of rules or tight regulations and thus do not want to innovate. Why would they? Too many rules and not enough freedom tells your employees you do not trust and respect them.

I think the rules should also be evaluated every once in a great while. Like policies, we sometimes forget why the rules are in place and it is time for them to go. In other instances, the rules no longer fit the lifestyle and priorities of our employees and organization.

When was the last time your organization’s rules were seriously, critically examined by all of the people from all levels?

–Jane, has been known to break rules