BLOCKED By The System: Innovation Is Just Too Difficult


An employee given the mission, budget, time and the “freedom” to innovate, has been hindered at every step.

The motivated employee, Catherine Ormond, was keen to buy a product as part of a quick technical demonstration.  She wanted to follow start-up logic of fail fast, fail cheap.

However, Catherine was blocked at the first hurdle; raising the purchase order.  Since the supplier was not officially assessed by her employer’s procurement department, nobody was able to help her.  “It’s simply not possible” said a procurement officer; “I don’t care if it’s of strategic interest, the system says NO!”  The process to become an approved supplier takes 2 years.

After 6 weeks of trying to escalate the issue through the company’s multi layered and complex hierarchy, involving 42 presentations of the same business case to at least 168 managers calling themselves ‘stakeholders’, Catherine simply gave up and bought it with her own credit card.

The device was confiscated by the quality department upon delivery because it had no ‘Form B37.4264a’ (which would have declared it as prototyping material).

Catherine was last seen endlessly repeating the words: “I must think inside the box, I must think inside the box, I must think inside the box…”  This is satire; nothing here is true.

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