20 June 2024
Factors Thwarting Innovations: Scholar Finds Obstacles

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Factors Thwarting Innovations: Scholar Examines Obstacles to Acceptance of Novel Ideas. Innovation, the driving force behind progress in various fields, often encounters obstacles that hinder its adoption. Novel ideas, the lifeblood of innovation, frequently face headwinds that can prevent their widespread acceptance.

Factors Thwarting Innovations: Novel Ideas and Their Roadblocks



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Innovation drives progress in various fields, but novel ideas often face obstacles that hinder their adoption. Why do some promising concepts, like hand sanitizing in 19th-century hospitals or racial integration in the 20th century, take years to gain widespread acceptance?

The Research: Exploring Factors Thwarting Innovations

Wayne Johnson, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Utah, set out to explore the factors that thwart the acceptance of novel ideas. His research team conducted five studies, including analyses of evaluations of films screened at Utah’s Sundance Film Festival and products pitched on the television program Shark Tank.

The findings revealed that people tend to disagree more about the value of something the less familiar it is. This means that unconventional films or companies often garner a broader range of opinions.

Mixed Reviews and Missed Opportunities: The Impact of Disagreement

According to Johnson’s study, the greater an idea’s novelty, the more significant the disparity in the responses it generates. These conflicting evaluations can lead to missed opportunities because the wide range of opinions is seen as a negative signal rather than evidence of creativity.

Johnson emphasizes that the focus should not be on generating ideas but on gaining support and approval for those ideas. The bottleneck often lies with middle managers who reject new ideas from employees. This is where creativity often meets its demise.

The Role of Reference Points: Evaluating Innovations

The study found that assessments of novel ideas vary because evaluators have fewer common reference points against which to evaluate them. Judgments become more reliant on idiosyncratic knowledge and preferences.

Johnson suggests that decision-makers should identify the reference points different evaluators are using and focus on evaluations with the most relevant and valid reference points. This strategy can create clarity from the confusion of conflicting evaluations and make innovation opportunities more apparent.

Disagreement as a Sign of Creativity: Embracing Innovation

Johnson cautions against giving up or making negative conclusions when faced with disagreement. Instead, recognizing that disagreement could indicate creativity is crucial. He advises prioritizing reviews that use the most relevant reference points.

Conclusion: Fostering Innovation

The fate of novel ideas is often determined by how they are evaluated. Disagreement and mixed reviews should not be seen as negative signals but as indicators of creativity. By understanding the factors that influence the acceptance of novel ideas, we can create a more fertile environment for innovation to thrive..

FAQ’s

1. What is the primary obstacle to the acceptance of novel ideas?

The primary obstacle to the acceptance of novel ideas is the tendency for people to disagree more about the value of something the less familiar it is.

2. How does the disparity in responses to novel ideas affect their acceptance?

The greater an idea’s novelty, the more significant the disparity in the responses it generates, leading to a broader range of opinions and a wider spectrum of evaluations.

3. Why are mixed reviews of novel ideas often seen as a negative signal?

Mixed reviews of novel ideas are often seen as a negative signal because they are interpreted as a lack of consensus and evidence of uncertainty, rather than an indication of creativity and diversity of perspectives.

4. What role do reference points play in the evaluation of novel ideas?

Reference points are the standards or criteria against which novel ideas are evaluated. The study found that assessments of novel ideas vary because evaluators have fewer common reference points to evaluate them, leading to more reliance on idiosyncratic knowledge and preferences.

5. How can decision-makers navigate the challenges of evaluating novel ideas?

Decision-makers can navigate the challenges of evaluating novel ideas by identifying the reference points different evaluators are using and focusing on evaluations with the most relevant and valid reference points. This approach can create clarity from the confusion of conflicting evaluations and make innovation opportunities more apparent.

Links to additional Resources:

www.sciencedaily.com www.nsf.gov www.nature.com

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Topics: Innovation, Novel ideas, Acceptance of novel ideas

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