Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

Innovators and Extractors

Someone suggests a new productivity tool.
Another suggests we try a new way of measuring our progress.
Yet another whiteboards a new series of written goals.
Another begins brainstorming new ways to better serve clients.

Then there is always someone who says, “why change, now?” “Why isn’t our current method good enough?” “What problem are we solving by making these changes?”

And there should be.
We need these folks.
The innovators to move us forward.
The extractors make sure we’re not moving forward toward a high cliff.

Innovators and extractors need to work together.

But at the end of the day, I confess an innovation bias. We innovate to grow. Without innovation, organizations become stunted and dysfunctional. Innovation is a driver of growth.

And we must grow.

Extractors tend to look at life as a series of problems to be solved.
This is a narrow mindset, and while helpful if there’s a cliff, can be stifling for an organization.

There are never as many cliffs as they tend to think.

Innovation should be incremental.
Innovators should aim for quick wins and cheap fails.
Innovators should listen to extractors to be aware of cliffs.

But at the end of the day organizations must move forward and innovate to grow.
Risk.
Be different.
Change the culture.
Change the world.

If life is only problem to be solved, we’ll spend our best energy putting out fires, rather than exploring what is possible.