The ideas paradox: why publishers fail to innovate

  • Don’t become a cynical old so-and-so. Acknowledge your own bias, and counter it with openness to new ideas and systems to test with users. If an idea is any good — it will resonate with customers who are the experts in what they want.
  • Invest in the human. By all means automate your systems, but don’t neglect your staff — creative problem solving is one skill at which humans will always beat the bots. Lack of time is the biggest barrier to innovation so make the most of your skilled workforce by giving them freedom for creativity alongside productivity.
  • Be transparent. Don’t hide away innovation. Fling open the doors to your R&D processes with opportunities for cross-business projects and secondments. Have a pipeline for ideas, be honest about what’s happening to them, celebrate successful ideas and give reasons for why others didn’t happen.
  • Ace your workload. Your primary job is to do your job, so nail that and prove you’ve got space to work on other projects. Only then tell your boss you have ideas, ask them for advice, training, mentoring and time to make them happen.
  • Empathise with your boss. They are under huge pressures to deliver. New product ideas can be a distraction, if not downright scary for bosses, so don’t bang on about disrupting the business as you’ll get rejected. Think of ways to demonstrate your innovation in small ways, build it incrementally, and be persistent — accept that most of your ideas will fail, so dust yourself off, and try again, and again.
  • Have a side hustle. Sometimes it just isn’t going to happen at work, so invest in your side projects and learn from meetups, maker days and hackathons.

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Bec Evans

Bec Evans

Author of How to Have a Happy Hustle, founder Prolifiko writes about innovation, creativity, philosophy, productivity & writing.