There’s a popular phrase, “If you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.” I think this belief has developed into an entire myth, which I call the Mousetrap Myth. The truth is that if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat it down or even worse ignore it. Great ideas get rejected all the time. Kodak invented the digital camera but rejected it. Xerox invented the personal computer but handed it off.
We say we want more creativity, but when we are presented with new ideas, we have a hard time recognizing their utility. This is something I see in almost all organizations. Great ideas come from all levels of an organization, but pushing them through this bias at every level of the hierarchy is a long and arduous process that most people give up in the middle of. In this way, most organizations kill most of their innovative ideas. Yet we still think that the way to solve our innovation problems is to get our people to generate more ideas when perhaps the right solution is to get better at recognizing the great ideas we already have.
David Burkus on the myths of creativity
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