Gladwell on Innovation: Truths & Confusions: Part 2

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Malcolm Gladwell’s article on innovation in The New Yorker entitled Creation Myth is a brilliantly written piece that, in the process of dispelling some innovation myths about Xerox PARC, creates some new myths, such as the one that the Apple of 1980s…

Marci Segal, MS‘s insight:

 

In the 20th Century organizations tended to go through three phases:[i]

In the first phase, there were startups run by commandos. They were swashbuckling innovators who were unpredictable and uncontrollable yet remarkably productive.  However most startups failed.In the second phase, the infantry moved in, i.e. the obedient workers who followed orders and methodically grow a company from its IPO to market dominance. They exploited the opportunity created by the commandos.In the third phase, the firm was run by police: the bureaucrats and middle managers who defend the entrenched position of an established market leader. The third phase was an occupying force intent on holding territory. A middle manager’s job was to say no to ideas that don’t originate from on high, preferably near the CEO.

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