Not Invented Here

I was reminded, as we dropped our daughter off at college, about my favorite things college offers.  Ideas!  Lots and lots of facts, opinions, and everything in between.  The best stuff humankind has come up with over the last 10,000 years or so.

If you’re open to it, that is.

Some young people go to college with a very specific idea about what they will study.  Others have very fixed ideas about how the world works.  They ignore anything that doesn’t conform to their views and reject anyone who tries to alter them.

Business is not different.  How many organizations suffer from the “not invented here” syndrome?  It’s easy to detect.  New managers come in and immediately change the ad agency.  The same new managers will tear apart a system that is functioning well simply because they want the system to be theirs.  Prior management is, by definition, incompetent, short-sighted, and foolish.  In software, any code not written within the organization is rejected.  Wheels are reinvented.   You get the picture.

The web has moved to open standards.  Wireless is on the way there.  So why are some managers and organizations working with a closed innovation standard? Just because something wasn’t invented by you or within your company doesn’t mean it’s bad.

I reminded my daughter to keep an open mind.  There are a tremendous number of great thoughts in the air and it turns out that a great many of them were invented elsewhere.  This isn’t a paean to the status quo, just a reminder that a closed mind and knee-jerk reactions are generally not the best assets for a smart businessperson.  Or student!

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Thinking Aloud

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