Today’s Dilbert cartoon (see below for the full version) brought back memories of corporate life. Innovation in general seemed to trigger a white blood cell reaction in many a corporate environment. In Data Sciences days I was regularly wheeled out for one client who was very excited by some of the new strategy work I was doing which I described here. You knew when it would happen as it always coincided with the annual renewal of the outsourcing contract. I was deployed into meetings and my future presence on the contract was promised, but after renewal all such promises were forgotten and I was put back in the box.
Later in IBM I found the same issue. Talking with people in research I discovered it was a generic problem. People from research were trotted out to present new and exciting ideas on visits to the laps, or were flown out to run sessions entitled futurescapes or the like. However when the contract was won, their ideas were subsequently ignored. We coined a phrase for this – the performing seal act. What always fascinated me is that exciting clients with innovatory ideas was considered as a useful sales and marketing tool, but not as a delivery one.
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