Bob, in the cubicle next to yours at work, just got a promotion and a raise.
So, you decide one morning at 3 am (while devouring Oreos because chocolate soothes frayed nerves) that maybe Bob got that promotion because of that new idea he took to the boss a couple of weeks ago.
You remember talk around the office about Bob’s new idea—a mud-flavored soft drink, “Grit”.
A new, novel, creative idea—that’s got to be the answer, right?
Creative ideas at work aren’t as welcome as you might think. Researchers have discovered that (no matter what they may tell you at those staff meetings) creative, novel, and useful ideas aren’t necessarily what people want.
Basically, people just don’t like new stuff—it scares them, or at the very least leads to a sense of uncertainty.
This uncertainty, in turn, leads to sort of a defense reaction in people—a reaction against the “new,” even if it has the potential to be wildly successful and make a ton of money.
People don’t even realize they are rejecting ideas just because they are new.
So what did Bob do to introduce his new creative idea, win the boss over, and take another step up the corporate ladder? Bob used three innovation acceptance strategies.
- Bob reaffirmed what the boss already knew, and connected it to his own project. At his pitch meeting, it probably went like this: “As you know,” (said Bob) “our research shows that the public loves to see a new soft drink on the shelf in the grocery store. And, your study last year clearly shows that companies have to introduce new products at least twice a year or they are totally left in the dust.”
- Bob connected his new idea to more familiar ideas, such as previous successful projects or similar works (even those that other companies have completed), thus increasing the odds that the managers will see his idea as practical and desirable. It probably sounded like this: “As you all know, Conglomerated Soft Drink International introduced their new stick flavored soft drink ‘Twig’ a year ago, and their profits have climbed 27%. This shows the call ‘nature-flavored drinks’ are becoming the rage.”
- Bob led his boss toward his idea with a series of statements he knew he would agree with, and then pitched his idea as if it actually came from his boss. This not only makes a “new” idea less threatening, but it causes it to be embraced by people because it is “their” idea.
So, when you decide to go for that brass ring and successfully introduce a new idea, remember these three smart, innovation acceptance strategies.
And hurry up about it, because we all can’t wait to take a swig of your novel idea, “Pine Cone Pop”, a drink that combines great flavor and extra roughage.