The Five Stages of Innovation

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The five stages of innovation:
  1. People deny that the innovation is required.
  2. People deny that the innovation is effective.
  3. People deny that the innovation is important.
  4. People deny that the innovation will justify the effort required to adopt it.
  5. People accept and adopt the innovation, enjoy its benefits, attribute it to people other than the innovator and deny the existence of stages 1 to 4.
Inspired by Alexander von Humboldt’s 'Three Stages Of Scientific Discovery', as referenced by Bill Bryson in his book, 'A Short History Of Nearly Everything'.
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  • You deny that the new innovation is worthwhile.
  • You say things like ‘That will never scale’ or ‘That was done back in the 90s and no one used it.’
  • Whenever anyone mentions the new innovation, you present a laundry list of reasons why it won’t work.
  • You actively unsubscribe from blogs who rave about the new innovation.
  • You snort with derision and roll your eyes when you see the innovation on a resume.
  • You engage in flame wars with advocates of the innovation.
  • The phrase “propeller head” appears in your writing, as does the phrase “Blah, blah, blah, I am so sick of hearing about…”
  • You look for ways to justify your disinterest, in the face of clear market interest in the innovation.
  • You say things like ‘Yes, but without support for XYZ, it’s dead in the water.’
  • You’ll buy books that include the new innovation, but only as long as they also include something else you’re really fond of. For example:
    • Agile Development and XML – the forgotten connection, or
    • Monads and Method Invocations – How Haskell is just like Introspection
  • At conferences, you’ll visit the session about the new innovation, but you’ll leave early.
  • You start to feel tired, because the world is changing around you.
  • You say things like “I’m too old for this nonsense.”
  • You feel stupid, because the new innovation just doesn’t quite seem to make sense.
  • Finally, you realise that everyone’s figuring out the new innovation, and it’s all a big mess.
  • You read blogs or news articles and you say things like “Wow, they don’t know what to do with it either!”
  • If you’re entrepreneurially inclined, you start to think about how you could build a start-up around the innovation and retire early and rich.
Source: Indefinite Articles, November 3, 2006
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With regard to the above article, if the person delivering the presentation for the innovation was a good public speaker and advanced salesperson s/he would have addressed each of these stages in her/his presentation and broken down most of the objections (barriers to acceptance) well before s/he began to close the acceptance deal.

The closing stage would have got the vast majority of the people onboard not withstanding the very few stubborn objectors that nothing said would convince or those with personal agendas that conflict with the project.

Having closed the deal with the vast majority of the team, the next stage for the presenter would be to address buyer’s remorse and convince the team that their decision to come onboard was the right one to make.

Finally, in individual private sessions, the presenter would have to deal with the diehards, s/he could try and convince them to come on board of their own accord, offer incentives or even punishments for compliance or non-compliance or completely take them off of the project. Obviously a resentful member of your team could also be essential to the projects success but also a massive liability and that calls for a lot of man management skill, courage, determination, patience and sometimes even bloody-mindedness on the part of the project manager.

lol, who said project management would be easy.

Essentially this is all about selling an idea and gaining commitment for its successful completion.
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