While at NIFT, a major part of my job became pushing files with lingo such as post facto, ex post facto, pro bono, status quo and the sorts. (Why a “fashion” institute is still stuck with an ancient method of record maintenance is still a puzzle to me.)
The word status quo came towards me from many directions.
“Don’t challenge the status quo” came again from the HR in a private jewellery company, as I experimented with changes in the branding plan. That actually pushed me a step further towards the door.
“Let the lions sleep” advised another colleague in another firm.
But there have been some lessons which I share.
Innovation vs order
If you are in a job, you have two options. One is that you try to change things for the better and the other is that you try to maintain the “status quo” and work within that constraint.
After working in mostly jewellery companies, I realized that innovation comes not just from products, but also from process; and also from systems. System innovation sounds quite technical, but as I see it, it could be as simple as instructing your back end to do a certain task, or a single person incharge to do a single thing more (or less).
Productivity vs change
While you endeavor to change things around, there maybe resistance to change. Changes in work process without senior most management push, is an uphill task. Many areas that actually need changes are grey areas often between different departments. An ideal scenario would be to identify leaders from each department and enroll them as change agents for the larger innovation. This however also leads to those resisting change to react adversely.
What you think vs group think
When coming up with ideas, innovative thinkers may come up with ideas which appear to be so crazy, so mad, so eccentric that the larger mass of thought might not be able to accommodate it. New ideas are risky, because they have not been tried out before. Getting people apart from yourself out of their comfort zones and fixed routine might be a huge challenge if you really do believe in the worth of your idea. But if it doesn’t work, its your neck on the line and that is the single biggest deterrent to individuals, our non acceptance of failure.
The conventional employee would let the “lions sleep” and the innovator? What would the innovator do? Would you let the Lions sleep?