Por Mauro Rebelo

The "Innovation Theater" by Steve Blank

DALL·E 2023-01-28 13.48.20 - greek theater with CEO SP500 actor on stage by matisse

We read Steve Blank’s article published in HBR “Why Companies Do “Innovation Theater” Instead of Actual Innovation” which discusses how organizations, as they grow, start to prioritize the process instead of the product, preventing true innovation.

Not to be missed!DALL%C2%B7E 2023 01 28 13.48.20 greek theater with CEO SP500 actor on stage by matisse

He says that when organizations realize this, they usually respond in three ways: by hiring consultants to do a restructuring (this is “organizational theater”), by adopting new processes, such as “Design Thinking”, or by creating an “Innovation Lab”.

Blank argues that these approaches do not solve the root problem (the fact that they have swapped product for process), and that companies and government agencies need to stop doing so or they will fail.

He suggests that it is necessary to create a mentality, culture and process to correct this, which he calls the “Innovation Doctrine”.

He says that, over time, organizations become more cautious and the people who manage the processes come to dominate the administration, while those who create the product end up reporting to them.

He argues that if the company is big enough, it will become a “rent seeker” and will look to the government and regulators as its first line of defense against innovative competition and will use government regulation and lawsuits to keep out new entrants with more innovative business models.

The result of monopolistic behavior is that innovation dies in that sector, until technology/consumers force them to change.