The Antibodies Sitting in the Innovation Petri Dish

For many years I’ve been fascinated by these ‘Corporate Antibodies’ that we find in that classic management pathology that instinctively rejects and refuses to alter its ways, so as to protect itself.  The internal immune system somehow identifies and neutralizes often far too many foreign objects, ideas, concepts or solutions. In the medical world the antibody is a protein produced to protect the body’s immune system when it detects harmful substances, called antigens. Innovation to be successful has to immune itself from many ‘antibodies’.

Last week I was remind of this. I attended a good, insightful conference (  on open innovation and new business creation, along with 200 practitioners from large mostly European organizations. What struck me was the consistent reference to stopping the ‘culture’ of rejection; ‘killing off’ projects, the fear of not-invented here. I often felt some of the speakers themselves were actually reinforcing this antibody culture, yet they were leading the charge for more open innovation, the very force to eliminate this.

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