Always hopeful yet discontent…

6The need for innovation never ceases. Whether it’s the pressure to find the next billion dollar business, or to find out how to most effectively support the most vulnerable people in our local community, there is always a very long list of problems to solve and opportunities to unlock by thinking and acting differently.

The never ending pressure to innovate is often completely overwhelming. It would be nice in theory if we just stop and take stock and be thankful with what we have. However in practice, doing nothing is seldom sustainable and usually is a sure fire way to become extinct, faster that you think.

So we have no choice but to innovate our way out of trouble or into new opportunities. And those insatiably curious people who are drawn to change and risk like a moth to a flame are a rare breed indeed. Often square pegs in round holes, a career in innovation is seldom a choice but rather a vocation. They are signified by an optimistic nature, that things can and will be better, but at the same time discontent with how things are.

A career in innovation is a mixed blessing. Enthralling and thrilling when it works out. And crushing and dispiriting when it doesn’t. But what it does teach us over time is a greater comfort with uncertainty and a higher tolerance to risk. These two characteristics are invaluable in an increasingly complex world, and impossible to teach, but rather must be learned through hard worn experience.

So here is to you, the innovators. The bittersweet breed to whom all progress is due. Thank you for your restless, pragmatic optimism. We salute you.

by Roland


  1. Nice thoughts here Roland. My five penny worth.

    There is so much movement in and out of innovation, often within clients it seems a ‘passing through’ role, sometimes 2 to 3 years often at the more senior roles assigned with growing innovation.

    Sadly this gives a poor rhythm to innovation. Those in a career role of innovation find this change taking place in their reporting line as depressing sometimes, grateful others.

    For us totally committed to innovation it gets depressing as relationships come and go and often you feel like playing the game of snakes and ladders. You need to go back down, miss a go and try yet again to engage someone new into the ‘arts and science’ of innovation

  2. Hi Paul. Yes we’ve seen this rhythm of passing through role too, 2-3 years, and sometimes the last resting place before either an exciting entrepreneurial opportunity or else some gardening leave which shows the personal risk involved. I do think that a permanent role isn’t the answer though. I’m sure there is an element of idea or innovation blindness, certainly if you just work within a single organisation.In a way I think innovation is about making your organisation or your role obsolete. Companies that create those roles, normally do so because of an absence of innovation rather than an excess of it. Roland

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