You are an innovator, and you are pleased with the role that you play in the world. You take great pride in your ability to anticipate the needs of your customers and to design and manufacture goods accordingly.
The only issue is that the task to be done by your customer and the job to be done by your organization are not aligned with one another. You have done extensive research, which includes looking at the market, speaking with customers, and examining workarounds and consumer pain points. You have a good notion of what your customers are looking for as a result of this, and you have a good understanding of the market. You have produced a cutting-edge new product (or collection of products) that you believe will satisfy the requirements of your customers. You’ve gone as far as building and evaluating a proof of concept, and the feedback from potential consumers has been overwhelmingly positive.
You have prepared the presentation and analyzed the business case, and everything appears to be in order. You are getting ready for the important presentation in which you will pitch your new product to the leadership of your company. You are ecstatic because you have a wealth of facts, real-life client testimonials, a compelling business case, an outstanding narrative, and even your deck looks amazing. You believe that everything is ready to go, and that there is no way to stop you now.
You walk into that meeting or start up your Zoom session, and share the screen that’s on your computer. After that, you go into your presentation, all fired up and pumped up. This is a pitch that cannot fail since all of the pieces fit together perfectly. Customers would adore it, and it seems to make a strong argument for your company. You are excited about developing this brand-new product and releasing it to the public for the first time. You may point to something that other people in your family or circle of acquaintances have said, such as “I did it” or “This was my idea.” Your professional reputation and sense of personal pride are on the line, but you are certain that the leadership team will find your story compelling and appreciate it.
You probably already have an idea of what came next.
First, you went straight into the deck, and everyone in your audience became disinterested. They inquired about the return on investment (ROI) not more than a few minutes in. They continued to hammer away at ROI. They were interested in knowing how much money the product may potentially produce for the company if it were released right now. Not how much pleasure it would bring to the consumers. Not how much it would impress experts and investors with their predictions. Not how much better it would make the lives of people. It would elevate your company’s reputation and make it easier to entice top people.
No, their only concern was the return on investment (ROI). The return on investment of the present moment. Not the return on investment of the future, even going beyond the earnings themselves.
Despite the fact that it is an amazing narrative, this is not a typical day at the office. What they are doing now is not something that has been tried and tested in the past. That which is successful. Even though it looks good on paper, in their eyes, it is risky, bold, and disruptive because of its radical nature. They are not interested in it unless it is a straightforward continuation of something that they are already engaged in at this time. It’s not worth taking that kind of chance.
If anything like this keeps happening to you, there is only one remedy to consider. resign from the company. Move to a location where your narrative will be heard, and where the leadership is not frightened of the extreme, hazardous, disruptive, and new. Consider going into business for yourself by launching a new company. In a twist of fate, if you do this, your previous employer might decide to acquire you again.
They do not wish to take the risk themselves, but rather would prefer for YOU to do so. It is ironic that they are in a better position to withstand the danger than you are because they already have a potentially lucrative firm.
But what if you decide that you want to remain here? The only way is to stick with the boring and safe options. Don’t be audacious, don’t cause a disturbance, and don’t try to be too extreme. Continue to focus on achieving quick wins and picking low-hanging fruit. Instead, you could look into product expansions.
But if that’s the case, are you truly pioneering anything new?