New Ideas Spread Slowly

Summary: the new mantra, innovate or die. Mostly, die trying.

Your boss, your organization, the agency or firm where you work — they all want you to be creative. Be innovative, they say. Show me something different.

Then, when you go about doing just that, you receive feedback. Some version of: "you're almost there, 85 percent of the way. Just add…" or "this is great, now all you need is to get a few slides in front of it to smooth the message out…"

By the third meeting or review, the original thought is so smoothed out and well concealed that you can barely recognize it, ever so pale. The ever helpful colleague, the one with experience in such matters, then takes it home.

Lo and behold the 2.0 version — last year's model, new and improved.

Be careful. People like to be told what they already know. Remember that. They get uncomfortable when you tell them new things. New things… well, new things aren’t what they expect.

They like to know that, say, a dog will bite a man. That is what dogs do. They don’t want to know that man bites a dog, because the world is not supposed to happen like that.

In short, what people think they want is news, but what they really crave is olds… Not news but olds, telling people that what they think they already know is true.

[Lord Vetinari]



Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at
conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a
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