Vance, a Trapper Boy, 15 years old. Has trapped for several years in a West Va. Coal mine. $.75 a day for 10 hours work. All he does is to open and shut this door: most of the time he sits here idle, waiting for the cars to come. On account of the intense darkness in the mine, the hieroglyphics on the door were not visible until plate was developed. Location: West Virginia. Photo by Lewis Wickes Hine, 1908 September.

Corporations Exist To Stifle Innovation, Not Encourage It

E. Forrest Christian Uncategorized Leave a Comment

There seems to be an attitude in most of the innovation & creativity discussions that innovation is always good. At least the shareholders, management, employees and others may not want the innovation that results. Remember that unions were innovations.

Also, within cultures innovation is rarely welcome. Al-Qaeda is an innovative organizational form and many of their attacks have been extremely creative. The Islamic fundamentalism itself is an innovation on the innovation of Wahhabism, which itself was persecuted. Not that Western religions are exempt: the Reformation saw unwelcome innovations in belief, living arrangements and social practices; what was unwelcome being a function of what group you aligned with.

Corporations are not actually in the business of encouraging innovation. They are in the business of discouraging it, and encouraging only innovation within a very small, tightly bounded area. Innovative social arrangements within the organization are forbidden. Innovations outside what management perceive as the purpose of the role is forbidden. Any innovation that is forbidden that the employee creates, even on his own time, is fully owned by the corporation (at least in America)

So what we’re really talking about is a very small slice of what innovating means.

Image credit: Vance, a Trapper Boy, 15 years old. Has trapped for several years in a West Va. Coal mine. $.75 a day for 10 hours work. All he does is to open and shut this door: most of the time he sits here idle, waiting for the cars to come. On account of the intense darkness in the mine, the hieroglyphics on the door were not visible until plate was developed. Photo by Lewis Wickes Hine, 1908 September. Part of Photographs from the records of the National Child Labor Committee (U.S.), Library of Congress.

About the Author

Forrest Christian

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E. Forrest Christian is a consultant, coach, author, trainer and speaker at The Manasclerk Company who helps individuals and companies find insight and solutions to what seem like insolvable problems. Cited for his "unique ability and insight" by his clients, Forrest has worked with people from almost every background, from artists to programmers to executives to global consultants, both as individuals and as leaders of organizations at least as diverse. [contact]

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