15 Reasons Conventional Wisdom Inhibits Innovation

by Mike Brown

15 Reasons Conventional Wisdom Inhibits Innovation

  1. Conventional wisdom permeates the common no’s standing in the way of innovation.

That’s just reason one why conventional wisdom blows. Here are 14 other reasons conventional wisdom inhibits innovation:

  1. It’s based on past experiences which could have nothing to do with today.
  2. It shoots down different ideas out of hand.
  3. It provides an excuse to not try changing the status quo.
  4. Nobody has to take personal responsibility for the inertia it creates.
  5. It discourages creativity, intuition, and imagination.
  6. It reinforces damaging stereotypes.
  7. It carries disproportionately too much weight in shaping opinions.
  8. It’s best friends with the status quo.
  9. It weakens a sense of longing for what could be.
  10. It digs deep mental ruts.
  11. It sanctions all types of laziness.
  12. It breeds pride among those inclined to rest on their laurels.
  13. It can hide its incorrectness behind misplaced reverence for tradition and past practices.
  14. It protects the tenured from having to answer questions.

Work incredibly hard to challenge yourself and those around you to blow UP the conventional wisdom standing in the way of innovation and progress!


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Mike BrownMike Brown is an award-winning innovator in strategy, communications, and experience marketing. He authors the BrainzoomingTM blog, and serves as the company’s chief Catalyst. He wrote the ebook “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” and is a frequent keynote presenter.

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  1. As I read this article I couldn’t help but see how almost all of your 15 reasons could relate to an individuals resistance to change and grow.

  2. One service mathematics has rendered the human race.
    It has put common sense back where it belongs, on the
    topmost shelf next to the dusty canister labelled
    ‘discarded nonsense’.

    — Eric T. Bell

  3. Being ever the skeptic and contrarian, reading this list (although I admit to agreeing with each and every point) led me to this quixotic thought: isn’t this list the “conventional wisdom” of those of us who consider themselves innovators?

    Which subsequently led to the next thought: perhaps instead of blowing up conventional wisdom completely, we should rather be looking at putting it in its proper place as an appropriate tool for certain purposes? One such purpose may simply be to be fully aware of alternative viewpoints/objections and learning to address them. Another may be to prepare for getting an innovation to successfully and rapidly spread beyond the early adopters and into the mainstream. Perhaps conventional wisdom should be embraced, or at least respected, as one tool in an innovator’s toolkit?

    Just a thought, to challenge conventional wisdom! 🙂

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