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Innovation Resistance, from Within

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Why organisations resist innovation. Image by aarisham, Shutterstock.com


Every organization wants to innovate, but what happens when that innovation challenges their existing communication structure? Resistance. Read the full article below…

Chris Skinner was introduced to Conway’s Law recently, and sees how it reflects how many organisations constrain innovation.

One of my good friends at 11FS referenced Conway’s Law the other day. I wondered what it was, as I know Moore’s Law and the Law of Diminishing Returns in economics, but Conway’s Law? What’s that? It’s a thesis created by Melvin E Conway, a computer programmer, back in 1968, which states:

Any organisation that designs a system (defined broadly) will produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organisation’s communication structure.

I love this thesis, as it really shows why it’s incredibly hard to innovate internally. The internal innovator is like some strange virus infecting the organisation. The internal innovator may be encouraged to challenge and question the way the company works, but anyone dealing with such a creature finds them objectionable. You challenging me?

It reminds me of when I was a graduate inductee way back when. After six months in the organisation, I had a whole raft of things that I thought were stupid rules and questionable procedures; things that were holding the firm back and, if adapted or changed, would release far more productive operations. I set up a meeting…

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