ASQ - Education Division

Not Invented Here: Tales From the Dark Side of Innovation

Abstract: Pioneering spirits in higher education are rare. Sometimes, self-interest and political affiliations play a role in the abandonment of innovative ideas and innovative people: a venture that is risky may hold opportunities for failure and the wrong political alliances can spell doom, and so there is a perceived need to establish distance. The “not invented here” syndrome results in a certain myopic view that encapsulates individuals “inside” of the box, stifling innovation and precipitating the departure of innovators who cannot get to first base because of institutional or organizational gatekeepers. This article discusses the importance of being open to thinking differently—and the potential consequences if an organization is reluctant to do so.

Keywords: Innovation - Higher Education Brief

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