One of my co-workers, JR, remarks on an innovation contest at work. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who wasn't sure what to make of the announcement.

The initial announcement sounded a bit fishy for several reasons. I wish I could post it here to see how others interpret it. Anyway, it contained just about all the information you'd expect: the goal, rules, timeline, and so on. But it left out one key piece of information. If I come up with Yahoo's next great idea, I'll win the prize (a strero). But will I get what really matters: the time and authority to work on taking that idea and turning it into reality?

The contest announcement never said. It didn't mention the fate of the winning idea.

So I e-mailed the vice president who announced the contest and asked: "Does the winner get any assurance that they'll be given the necessary time and resources to help build and deliver on their innovative idea?"

I got a response. He started off, predictibly, with "that's a great question" and then went on to not answer it. Yes, he said stuff, but he didn't say "yes" or "no." It was a yes or no question.


What's worse is that this contest does little to address the real problems that I wrote about earlier.

I worry that the self-appointed judges of this contest wouldn't know innovation if it bit them on the ass. They're doing nothing to address the real barriers to innovation in our workplace.

Posted by jzawodn at February 11, 2003 08:04 PM

Reader Comments
# techno said:

A regifted stereo.

on February 11, 2003 09:21 PM
# brandt said:

my bosses came to the conclusion that innovation isn't something that just appears because you think really hard about it. it's often serendipitous. and even if the VP didn't answer your question, he answered your question. his answer can be paraphrased as follows:


That's a good querstion. Of course, you will not be given that authority, because once we receive your idea, someone above you in the management chain will take credit for it. Please accept the consolation prize of a stereo.

on February 11, 2003 11:51 PM
# Dan Isaacs said:

What kind of stereo? That matters.

on February 12, 2003 08:31 AM
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. My current, past, or previous employers are not responsible for what I write here, the comments left by others, or the photos I may share. If you have questions, please contact me. Also, I am not a journalist or reporter. Don't "pitch" me.


Privacy: I do not share or publish the email addresses or IP addresses of anyone posting a comment here without consent. However, I do reserve the right to remove comments that are spammy, off-topic, or otherwise unsuitable based on my comment policy. In a few cases, I may leave spammy comments but remove any URLs they contain.