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12/06/2017

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Chris, As per usual, you've written a piece with some rich ironies.

One, is the idea of a large government entity afraid to fail. For one thing, most of those agencies operate wholly removed from competition or consequence. The budget will be there next year regardless of failure. And to the extent that the budget may be reduced, it will be reduced owing to other factors (such as politics) disconnected from the success of failure of an internal initiative. Heck, in many cases, if an agency or department fails spectacularly enough, you can even get an increase in funding (we'll withhold the names to protect the guilty).

Another irony for those familiar with the intelligence community is that the "need to share" mindset clearly has not been inculcated in the visual graphics service!

On the idea of innovation, I had begun to think that the term was like saying "cyber." If you throw it around, people will think you erudite and deserving of more funding. Yet many companies seem to be finding their innovation ships dashed on the hard rocks of failure, as noted in a recent article from "down under" (https://tvou.com.au/speak/innovation-labs-dont-work/).

And, as you noted, creativity is not the same thing as innovtion. It is likely that we've all seen some very creative "solutions" or initiatives that, in hindsight cause us to say, "What were they (or we) thinking?"

Moreover, there seems to be this au courant notion that no idea that was developed more than three years ago can possibly relevant in today's fast-changing world. I've seen many organizations quick to want to change or "fix" policies, processes, or procedures just because they're "old," or somehow they were "last season's Prada shoes."

Creativity for its own sake isn't creativity, its chaos. And so, I like your definition that includes the concept of value.

Overall, another fine discourse!

Thanks Joe. It's always with "mixed emotions" that I post these articles - principally because all-too-often they're drawn from real experiences.

I enjoyed the colorful and appropriately-descriptive metaphor, " . . . seem to be finding their innovation ships dashed on the hard rocks of failure".

Yes, innovation and creativity don't seem to be able to be conjured on a set schedule, although we still try to work to that end on that assumption. I've actually had instances where I've been told to put my inspiration "on hold" for 24-48 hours, while an "ticket" is being processed. That inspiration was gone forever in 15 minutes, let alone 24-48 hours.

The best bet for success is to hire and leverage smart people, encourage individual and team creativity and do your best to remove any barriers.

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