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Author's profile photo Timo ELLIOTT

12 Cartoons That Explain Why Innovation Is So Darned Hard

A selection of my cartoons to do with innovation (more on my personal blog here!). Feel free to use in presentations, etc…. (let me know on twitter: @timoelliott)

Funnily enough, there’s a strong correlation between how long people have been in a company / how senior they are and how reluctant they are to embrace change: 

innovation no tried that once.jpg

But innovators shouldn’t neglect the real human costs — not everybody is willing and/or able to change..


Most organizations try to have it both ways — innovation without actually changing anything — and that’s as dumb as it sounds:

yes to innovation no to change.jpg

To get good innovation ideas, you may have to change to a different environment (how about a Design Thinking Workshop with SAP?)

Goldfish change of air 1.jpeg

The best way to get ideas is to shake things up — and invite others, with different points of view, to take part (alternatively, these folks are working on their IT agility…)


Innovation these days is less about new or better products and services, and more about changing business models — which is hard to do because it cross existing company silos, so many organizations leave it until too late:


Let’s face it, most of us feel like we’re too busy to get around to innovating — but there’s never a better time to do it than right now:


What’s stopping us from innovating? Complexity! 


And remember, many people’s jobs are tied up with that complexity — they’re not going to be happy to have you “save them” from it:


Sadly, many corporate bureaucracies manage to kill off new ideas before they get going:

Innovation comic 1.png

In a rapidly changing world, the only way to guarantee failure is to not try. Don’t run a business, run an experiment.


If you’re a technologist, you’re no longer just “helping” the business — you’re building the foundation for the business models of the future. You have to help the business understand the possibilities — it’s hard work, but at the end of the day there’s no better feeling than successful innovation:
Happy innovating! (if you enjoyed this, please share!)

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      Author's profile photo Caroleigh Deneen
      Caroleigh Deneen

      These are great Timo, and I like the way you wove the story throughout. I could see these in a little flip book, distributed at a conference. My favorite is the tank with the armoured fighters is my favorite, with the snow people a close second. It really is so hard to find the time, but it's so important. Malin Liden might like to use these in one of our team meetings or to kick off Development Days:)

      Author's profile photo Matt Fraser
      Matt Fraser

      Brilliant and right on the mark as ever, Timo. I fear I even see myself in a few of these....

      Author's profile photo Jelena Perfiljeva
      Jelena Perfiljeva

      Talk about innovation - even the ideas switched from the incandescent light bulbs to CFL. 🙂

      Author's profile photo Philipp Nell
      Philipp Nell

      Thanks for sharing!

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Very nice blog...Thanks for sharing. 🙂

      Author's profile photo Simon Carpenter
      Simon Carpenter

      Thanks for these Timo - it's great to bring some humour to bear on what can be a somewhat scary topic