[Quote] You're trying to sell them a dream

Credible innovators can't ignore stakeholders' pressure to earn money in the short run

[Quote] You're trying to sell them a dream

“You're trying to sell them a dream.

But if all they see is a nightmare,
they're not buying into the dream.

If there's no money in, all money out,
well, then pretty soon it's [nose] up.”

Mike Hall. Canadian entrepreneur.

The point for innovation

Innovators can get enamored with their craft, their invention, their users' need, their data, their speed to market, and more.

But in the end, we are not doing this as a hobby. Our standards are not the final arbiter of what matters.

We have stakeholders, who have to believe in at least some way that we might ever earn them money, in a way that they would recognize and value.

We need to earn credibility with those stakeholders! That's the only way that individual projects or entire innovation teams have a future.

We may not make big revenue right away. But we also cannot ignore topics like finances, operations, staffing, etc. And when it comes to finances, that includes not just the business income or profit but also the internal budget and staffing needed to pull it of and the personal impact to bosses' interests (bonuses, chances for promotion, etc.).

Don't believe it? Do this gut check:

Did you get paid your last paycheck? And the one before that and the one before that?

If so, what has been your employer's return on investment on you so far?

More likely than not, it's not that high. That's fine. Not like HR earns revenues directly. But if you are working for a for-profit company, you will need to justify your job's existence if it doesn't pay for itself, with profit to boost.

Fail to explain in terms that operators can understand why your job should exist, and you live on borrowed time. After all, a company can invest payroll funds in many kinds of initiatives. And our salary could certainly be used elsewhere, in an area where the ROI is easier to understand.

Of course, that does NOT mean that we should only do incremental or meaningless work.

It simply means that we must embrace the tension between short-term pressures and the essential long-term nature of the work, not shirk from it, nor belittle the stakeholders who are living in the pressure cooker of needing to generate ROI stat!


Rust Valley Restorers

by Mayhem Entertainment, Corus Studios

First aired December 6, 2018

Play on Netflix

Further watching

Shewchuk, M., & Hepburn, T. (2018). Rust Valley Restorers : Netflix. Retrieved 2023-09-23 from https://www.netflix.com/title/80203254