Companies often are protective of the innovation process, taking steps to protect their ideas from “outsiders” and trying to ensure competitors don’t get even a whiff of what they’re thinking.
The problem is that such a mentality ends up shutting out so many people, even from inside the organization, that the ideas aren’t as innovative or as viable as they would be if more people were included.
Recent research backs up the idea that innovation needs to be open to more sources of inspiration, and innovation experts like Nilofer Merchant argue that companies are missing golden opportunities when they don’t invite all employees to suggest creative products or processes.
“What we must all realize is that there are a lot of people – like women or people of color – who have been dismissed, who are considered nobodies,” Merchant says. “But it’s the nobodies who are changing the world.”