Nowadays, it seems like every organisation wants to be innovative – or at least says they want to be. And why wouldn’t they? In a world in flux, where disruption is faced in all arenas (social, economic, environmental, epistemological), and where new technologies offer new opportunities and new chances, sticking with the same old, same old is not likely to get you far.
Of course incremental changes and continuous improvement are still worthwhile. But in a hyper-connected, hyper-speed world, the pressure for innovation, to change what you do, not just how you do it, is immense. Any strategy based on the assumption that things will not change in the near future is likely to be quickly undone by events.
Yet the gap between proclamations of support for innovation and the actual doing of innovation is large. Despite an increased focus on innovation, it sometimes seems that there is a lot more “innovation theatre” than there is innovation doing. Why, if there is such a desire and need for innovation, is the commitment, the investment and the ability to innovate still lacking?
In this somewhat personal and speculative reflection, I suggest that this has to do, in part, with the challenge of really embracing difference and “otherness”. This view is one that has come from looking inwards – by considering my own personal innovation journey and three of my “otherness” travel companions: gayness, trauma, and disability. From there, I attempt to consider some larger possible implications.