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There is nothing as humorous – or sad – as outdated laws. Every jurisdiction has them:

  • No cow or sheep grazing in public gardens
  • All businesses must provide rails to tie up horses
  • No walking backward while eating chestnuts

Unfortunately, many organizations face a similar problem: rules and regulations that have far outlived their useful lives. Innovation requires flexibility – yet rules and regulations breed inflexibility.

Inflexibility causes a permanent competitive disadvantage, as other more agile organizations jump into the fray, “disrupting” the market with their new thinking. Of course, they aren’t disrupting the market – they are disrupting their competitors, using the tools of innovation to connect more directly to their stakeholders.

In fact, under cover of terms like security, privacy, technology architecture, and “policy”, many organizations are stifling not just innovation, but also customer service, employee motivation, and ultimately profitability.

These rules and regulations are felt no more keenly than in the areas of social media, marketing, and technology. While the preventers of innovation are doing their jobs, the smart and the quick organizations are reaping the benefits of social CRM, cloud computing/Software as a Service, community building, and collaboration. They are embracing the Facebook Generation, and the Facebook generation is embracing them.

This week’s action plan: Is the inertia of the past stifling innovation in your organization? Look carefully, and identify the rules and regulations that directly impact your goals – and then advocate for openness, innovation, and connection.

Security Addendum: We aren’t advocating a disregard for security, privacy, and similar policies, but rather a recognition that in most organizations these concerns should be addressed in a way that encourages – not prevents – innovation.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)




Color Television

by Randall Craig on August 4, 2009

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Strategy

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If you are old enough to remember Black and White televisions, then you’re old enough to remember how revolutionary color television was. If not, perhaps you remember how the microwave oven changed how the world cooked? Or what it was like without the internet, let alone Facebook, YouTube, and Google.

Each of these are great examples of innovation that have changed society. Some, like color TV or the microwave, were designed to solve a specific problem. Others, like the internet, have moved well beyond their original purpose.

At the personal level, innovation is equally possible, and can have just as dramatic an impact. When was your last innovation? Who did it affect? What problem did it solve? Without innovation, there is no personal or professional growth, and we often find our careers (and relationships) stalled.

This week’s action item: In every task, process, and relationship there is an opportunity for innovation. This week, identify an area that is ripe for change, and start the process. While your innovation may not be the next color television, it can have an impact well beyond your expectations.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)


Brain Operating System: Autopilot

by Randall Craig July 28, 2009

DOS, Windows, and Mac OS are all names of computer operating systems. They control the computer chips, memory, and give the computer its unique personality. While we are certainly not computers, we too are controlled by a system: a Brain Operating System. Our BOS has a tremendous autopilot system: without even thinking, our heart pumps, […]

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