The Fastest Path to Innovation: Pamper Your Mavericks
by Gerard Tellis
Companies consistently pass up or cast out those who create friction, cause insecurity among leaders, or make other employees uncomfortable. It’s their loss, since those mavericks are often their best shot at true innovation. The source of innovation is not so much investment in R&D, filing of patents, or clever market research, but the recruitment, empowering, and retention of talented people, who may appear at times as mavericks: a personality type that includes critics, whistle-blowers, dissidents, challengers, experimenters, variety seekers, and non-conformists. Such personalities think differently, and innovations often emerge from such differences in thought. Firms can grow mavericks into innovators by motivating them with asymmetric incentives, empowering them with responsibility and resources, and challenging them with internal competition.