Listening to more senseless drivel on CNBC, we need more innovation in the US.  The investment community’s answer . . . quotas for innovation.  Here we go, quotas, rewards, incentives to get innovation.

How about the design and management of work as a huge opportunity for innovation.  Redesign these pieces and we might even get competitive.

Think of it we don’t need a CIO (Chief Innovation Officer) or quotas or other dysfunctional lame-brain ideas like this.  We need to engage the minds of those on the front-line and use the other 90% of the organization that are deemed not educated enough to innovate by command and control managers.  A missed opportunity.

Then, we have all these poor work designs that do everything possible to “dumb down” the worker with technology, front/back office, scripts, standardization and the list goes on.  How about a change of pace?  Engaging the brains of these folks.

I hear it all the time, they aren’t interested in “that” they just want to do their work.  This thinking is pitiful, I have never found a worker not interested in their work . . . beaten down, yes . . . but all are interested.  Many workers think management couldn’t be any dumber, just managers aren’t in earshot of these comments.

Making all employees and their jobs relevant takes guts, but the rewards are innovation and unrivaled culture.  People love their job when given decision-making responsibility and not just accountability.  Workers deserve a better work design and managers would benefit greatly from this thinking.

The barrier is scores of years of productivity and financial brain-washing that has pushed us to having quotas for innovation.  After all, why not?  They exist for everything else.

Electric shock treatment withstanding, there is a need to rediscover the individual worker through better management thinking and better work design.  Innovation through quotas is more of the same wrong thinking.  When will it all end?

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Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public).  His organization helps executives find a better way to make the work work.  Download free from “Understanding Your Organization as a System” and gain knowledge of systems thinking or contact us about our intervention services at [email protected].  Reach him on Twitter at or LinkedIn at