Obstacles to Innovation

Innovation has long been identified as a key ingredient to a healthy economy.  That being the case, it is worthwhile to determine how we can facilitate innovation.  In order to best facilitate innovation, it is necessary to identify and lessen the impact of obstacles preventing further innovation.

A number of factors, in different sectors and different areas of the world, have been identified as obstacles to achieving more innovation.  In the European Union, some have pointed to bureaucratic snafus, overly regulated patents, and restrictive immigration policy as obstacles.  Shelly Lazarus, Chairman of public relations firm Ogilvy & Mather, identified the cultural barriers to successful innovation.  She remarked that sometimes, the biggest obstacle to implementing innovation is the fragility of new and innovative ideas in the workplace.

Henrik Otto, head of Swedish appliance maker Electrolux, claims that the biggest obstacle to innovation is experience.  He argues that those with experience tend to make arguments for why something will not work, as opposed to making arguments for why something will work.  According to Otto, those with experience “…use that experience to tell themselves and others why things won’t be possible to do, rather than use that knowledge and experience to invent ways to circumvent obstacles.”

Posted by: Clark Taylor

Sources: Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, PR Canada, Science Business, Wall Street Journal

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