Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Let me just play devil's advocate...

Picture source

The 10 Faces of Innovation
From the new issue of Fast Company: In an exclusive book excerpt from the general manager of Ideo, we meet the personality types it takes to keep creativity thriving--and the devil's advocate at bay.

When I first read this article, I jumped out of my chair! We have all been there, full of ideas and innovation, desirous to be part of a team that accomplishes great things - who doesn't want to make a difference in their vocation? Then that devil shows up, or at least his advocate. God wasn't kidding, when He talks about the evil characteristics of Satan, that he "kills, steals, and destroys" (John 10:10). But beyond his routine harassments, temptations or hit-and-run attacks, the Devil's forces seek territory to establish long-term strongholds in which they may dominate and hold us captive. Read on to see this played out in meeting rooms in America...

Adapted with permission from The Ten Faces of Innovation, by Tom Kelley with Jonathan Littman, to be published October 18 by Currency Books, a division of Random House Inc.

We've all been there: the pivotal meeting in which you push forward a new idea or proposal you're passionate about. A fast-paced discussion leads to an upwelling of support that seems about to reach critical mass. And then in one disastrous moment, your hopes are dashed when someone weighs in with those fateful words: "Let me just play devil's advocate for a minute. . . ."

Having invoked the awesome protective power of that seemingly innocuous phrase, the speaker now feels entirely free to take potshots at your idea and does so with impunity. Because he's not really your harshest critic. Instead, he's essentially saying, "The devil made me do it." Devil's advocates remove themselves from the equation and sidestep individual responsibility for the verbal attack. But before they're done, they've torched your fledgling concept.

read the rest here and be encouraged!

Innovation is all about people. It is about the roles people can play, the hats they can put on, the personas they can adopt. It is not just about the luminaries of innovation like Thomas Edison, or celebrity CEOs like Steve Jobs and Jeff Immelt. It is about the unsung heroes who work on the front lines of entrepreneurship in action, the countless people and teams who make innovation happen day in and day out.

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