Why Does Innovation Take Longer Than Expected?

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During a recent meeting where team members provide updates on their innovation projects, one of the project leads pushed back when I challenged the team to “go faster”.  All the person said was: Law #4.

The person was quoting from a blog post called the 7 Laws of Innovation.  Law #4 is the Law of Patience.  In this case, the project lead was on the mark by pushing back on me.  I had gotten so excited about the project that I had lost my patience.

When we loose our patience, we exhibit worry and anger.  If we are the boss, we have a tendency to want to jump in to the project and start micromanaging.

So what should you do when you feel you patience is waning on a project?

  1. Take a deep breath:  Step back from the project.  Go spend a few days helping someone else with their project.  Then come back with fresh eyes.
  2. Re-read the Law of Patience:  Since I got that gentle rebuke from a project lead, I’ve gone back and refreshed my memory with the 7 Laws.  Each one of us needs to be reminded from time to time.
  3. Find a coach/mentor:  Find someone who you can check your concerns with.  You might be valid in your concern – but then again, you could be inpatient.
  4. Get Perspective: Take a vacation.  Get away from it all and don’t think about work.  You don’t want to the turn into “that person”.

Innovation takes longer than you expect.  Get used to it.


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