When pitching a method from the Innovation Toolkit, we are (not surprisingly) occasionally met with a little resistance… or even a brick wall or two. The tools and methods we’re suggesting people try are generally new, foreign, and might require people to step a bit out of their comfort zone, so it’s natural for some people to feel reluctant or even skeptical!
Early adopters are the minority in any domain, and ITK is no exception. Our early adopters are the risk-takers willing to try something new that might potentially fail. For those who are not early adopters, pushback might be direct like some of the statements below, or it might just be a passive nod that reads: “I hear what you are saying, but I don’t know how to respond. You seem passionate, so I’ll just smile and change the subject as soon as possible…”
Rather than dropping the suggestion, we recommend some friendly and understanding ways to handle naysayers and find a way through those walls. Here are some of the most common objections and a few thoughts on how to respond.
“This won’t work in our culture.”
It might be helpful to introduce the tools in a less conspicuous way. For example, instead of using the full Rose, Bud, Thorn, we might simply explain the purpose and have a conversation about what’s good, bad, and promising. We don’t always need to use the full canvas or plaster the wall with colorful post-it’s to get the impact of the tools.
“Can’t get people together in the same room.”
That’s OK! The tools can be used virtually if you have screen sharing and remote collaboration capabilities. Alternatively, we could introduce the tools to folks to use asynchronously from their own workspaces.
“We don’t have the time / money / resources.”
All of the tools are free to use and scalable, so holding a session can fit into your existing work schedule. Spend the last 15 minutes of your weekly team meeting to try out [insert tool here]. If it’s not useful, we don’t have to use it again.
“We can’t get everyone to break away like that.”
Of course, everyone is busy. Remember: these tools are not adjacent to the work we’re all supposed to be doing. They actually ARE the work, and they generally help us do the work faster, better, and more productively. Also keep in mind most of the tools are scalable and customizable for your purposes. If you only have a short period of time, I’d recommend setting a time limit for the session and see if people are interested in a follow on. A 15-minute Lotus Blossom could be just what the doctor ordered.
“We already have folks who do this.”
Fantastic. Feel free to use any of our tools with your own facilitators or let us know if you would like a new perspective! We’re always open to collaborating.
“The facilitators don’t have the right subject expertise.”
Sometimes an objective third-party facilitator can bring new perspectives and ask questions that might not occur to people who are closer to the problem and more familiar with the content. Our trained facilitators can support the conversation and get people talking more openly and honestly. Of course, if you’d prefer to not have us facilitate, we’re happy to simply recommend tools you can use on your own
Hopefully some of these tips resonate with your situation and can help move forward a team to use some of the ITK methods. Have you encountered any other objections? If so, please share them and how you handled it below!
Some people avoid failure at all cost (fear of failure). MITRE’s new culture initiative includes smart risk taking, thoughtful speed, adaptability, grace and respect and collaboration (focused on inclusion and diversity fueling innovation). The Failure cake and other failure celebration initiatives emphasize it’s okay and encouraged to experiment and learn as an organization and individual. So go ahead and try ITK. I promise you will learn something.