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The 3 Obstacles To Innovation


The 3 Obstacles to Innovation

In my personal experience of working with 1000s of people and organisations, I notice that talent and ideas alone are not sufficient for Innovation. We need to overcome 3 Big obstacles to be able to Innovate and put our talents to good use. Else, we keep fighting all kinds of crisis in our lives and work.

1st Obstacle

People’s inability to deal with their fears and anxieties is the First Big obstacle to Innovation. Our survival mode makes us anxious and fearful. This mode is required only when survival is threatened, but the way we are, our survival is under threat all the time. We fight for the survival of our ideas, thoughts, beliefs, convictions and of course our possessions. Fearful and anxious people do not Innovate, they frustrate. Consequently, their discoveries are also directed towards enhancing survival only. It is a good thing than nothing, while more is possible.

2nd Obstacle

A greater Obstacle is our belief that “I am right and I Know it”. This is intimately connected with our self-doubts. The greater the Doubt, the greater the need to believe “I know and I am right”! This makes us competitive and keeps us in a mode of comparison. Under such a state, our innate abilities do not emerge, Innovation takes a hit. While through our experiences and learnings, there are countless things that we do know to be true, it is our disdain for those who do not know upto our levels or our benchmarks that disengages us effectively.

“Those who “know” feel the need to Lead, while those

who “Explore” feel the need to Collaborate.

Innovation requires Collaboration, Not Isolation”.

Those who understand, that however much they ‘know’ is little in comparison to the entire Cosmos, remain grounded and curious to explore and go further. Rest of us revert back to being survivors, always surviving on the basis of “whatever we know”.

3rd Obstacle

The third and the Biggest Obstacle to Innovation is overdependence on Logic which in turn leads to the absence of devotion in one’s heart. Let us understand what I mean by ‘Logic and Devotion’.

If we examine carefully, we find that each animal on this planet possesses Logic for their survival. Logic is indeed imperative for survival, But our real growth as a human race has always come through Imagination!

We dreamed and Imagined about flying, we imagined ourselves on the Moon and then we followed up on our imaginations with a Devotion that is sometimes shocking and defies all Logic. “Devotion is one’s ability to surrender.” This surrender of ours can be to an idea, desire, thought or a  God”.

For those, who are yet to experience God, it is an ‘idea or a desire’ that they are devoted to. Innovation requires Devotion that defies Logic and goes into a field of Imagination. Then we back it up with our efforts that are limitless and focussed. Those who chase their desires which originate out of comparison and competitiveness, require logic and reasoning to lead their lives.

In my years of work with entrepreneurs and senior leaders, I have noticed that the moment they are able to deal with their fears and anxieties, their “I know” life state turns to “I need to Know more” and their overdependence on Logic gives way to their Imagination and Devotion. Once this happens, then Innovation is the next port of call.

Innovation is not a switch that turns on and off. As we progress this path, our success starts reflecting it in proportions. For example, we start Innovating on the methods in which we can heal and build our relationships, we start dropping our judgments and biases about people and about ourselves, then we stop living like slaves of our own likes and dislikes. All this leads to greater engagement with oneself, people and the world in which we thrive.

Discoveries are then made through realisations! Remember, Humans have never really created anything. We have always Discovered things that already existed. This requires observation, But we can never really observe, till we are full of ourselves!

“A mind that is full, does not seek. A mind that does not seek, does not see. A mind that does not see does not Innovate.”

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  1. Post comment

    Hi Sameer ,
    Great food for thought. Tnks for sharing.
    While , one spends a lot of time in unburdening themselves of our compulsive emotions – which are also our obstacles —- the other people in organisation also need to under go similar journey to contribute for Innovation …

    1. Post comment

      Agree with your viewpoint. It is only when more people undergo a similar journey of self realisation that innovations happen at an organisational level.

    2. Post comment

      For me Innovat is some one sitting inside you waiting to comeout. And once you let him comeout with the strength of devotion and start a journey to seek more than you know. Then the real innovation starts.
      And buy reading this blog my this belief has cemented again. Thanks Sameer for being there.🙏🙏🙏🙏

  2. Post comment

    Good Afternoon

    I want to talk more about the third Obstacle :: Logic.
    I really appreciate the Idea of Devotion, which can seed innovation. How does one identify a line in between blind faith and Devotion?
    Whenever I try to not go on a path of blind faith, I use logic to guide me and chose direction. However, sooner this Logic takes control and becomes the Obstacle.
    Also Devotion, to a Cause or a God or to any desire of Innovation, is usually devoid of a target timeline. How does one then keep engaged in the direction with all conviction. Like me, many others may have followed a certain path with utmost dedication, yet may have discontinued or walked away, or got caught in Logic somewhere before the destination…. how does one keep going just a bit or a lot more?

  3. Post comment

    Really enjoyed reading. Wonderful thoughts. I would also like Mohit mentioned request if devotion can be talked about more for us to understand it better.


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