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Printer Friendly Page The Big Speed Trap

The Big Speed Trap

Innovation leaders usually do not know how much support they are going to need.  Typically they seek endorsement and support of leaders and groups of larger, more mainstream or more established organizations with substantial clout, for they seem to be the organizations that could bring in millions of supporters.  These clouty organizations may not seem to be too much different from those organizations that have been approached earlier and have generally been helpful.  They are likely, however, to include one or more new kinds of organizations: major foundations, media, venture capitalists, corporations, trade associations or arms of government, which, relatively speaking, have a lot of clout and often have direct outreach to millions as well.  When leaders of such organizations agree to support the proposal, it seems to assure success.  This can be the bait for a trap. 

Perhaps up front or much more likely, after the innovative leader is heavily involved with these clouty leaders and is starting to realize that there soon may be little or no alternative to continuing to proceed with them, the clouty leaders insist on imposing conditions beneficial to their own organization and biased to favor its primary interests, narrowly defined.  Decisions on changes to the innovative proposal, both for adding new features and deleting an old one, will go against the entrepreneur-innovator.  Why is that so bad? 

Those substantial organizations, particularly corporations and arms of government, themselves have competitors, adversaries or opponents, who will oppose the proposal precisely because of the bias that the organization leaders have introduced to favor themselves.  Such biased proposals will not work well when implemented.  The bias itself produces adversaries and opponents and even enemies of the supporters, all of whom have clout.