Killing the Creative – How the need for speed is stifling Innovation!

I spend a lot of time in other people’s offices. All of them are packed with people racing to make deadlines and deliveries. The atmosphere simply vibrates with the mental horse power these corporate champions are generating and it’s exhausting to watch.  Come 5pm, if they are lucky, they pack-up their laptops and folders into bags, briefcases and back packs, for the trip home where the second shift of kids, pets, partners and dinner will ask for their attention.

While they are running and if lucky producing, can they improve and innovate in an environment that does not give their brain the creative inner self time to mentally breathe?

Back in the 90’s I was a network and hardware technician in I.T. When new software and equipment arrived, we were told to “take a few days” and “have a play”. It was invigorating! We would break it, learn how to fix it, grab our sales teams and excitedly show them what customer problems we could fix with our new toys. Our bosses gave us time to think about doing things better, or different.

I have polled my friends to query if this happens in their modern workplaces. It doesn’t. Everything is required yesterday and the sacrifice is innovation and creativity.

At OneStrand, we are a small fox competing against big dinosaurs every day.  That’s why we are given the time to stop and let our brains breathe a little. We stop our day to day to discuss, argue, debate and roll play ideas for our software products that will change how our customers create, manage and deliver technical information. Most vendors in the S1000D space have the core or the right ingredients, however the OneStrand team has that plus the right recipe and talent to bring the solution to life with much more creativity.

I do believe we will see a renaissance in the art of creativity and “Hey, what about…” Why am I convinced this will happen? Because in the competitive, 24/7 global industries that we all work in, you simply can’t out work your competitors. Managers will need to provide the space (and space means time) to innovate and create. Great ideas can’t be forced into being from around the boardroom table, they are conjured and brewed like good coffee. Companies need to create “skunk works”, the companies black op’s people that have awesome ideas to share if they can just get the space to brew them.

Will some initiatives fail? Absolutely, but you learn from failure. Without trying and testing you don’t know what the result will be.  So, the question I put to you is this… Can you create the space you need to breathe and innovate, or will you need to tell the family that you will be working late again?


Michael Halter
VP Product Development
OneStrand Inc.


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