The attitude of Not Invented here can kill your change initiative.
Organizations, generally speaking, are strange in a sense that they can be schizophrenic – not really knowing what it wants or who it wants to be. Maybe schizophrenic isn’t the right characterization, but there’s something strange there. One example of this is the phenomena of Invented Here or Proudly Found Elsewhere.
This topic matters because Underutilized People is a form of waste in the Toyota Production System and is the direct result of the subject matter below.
Invented Here and Proudly Found Elsewhere
Have you ever been in a situation where a good idea or innovation was generated by someone within the company and was summarily dismissed for no reason? But, when the same idea is presented by someone outside the company, executive management are amazed and want to adopt it right away?
That’s the situation that we call Proudly Found Elsewhere, denoting the fact that ideas and innovation outside the company are more worthwhile than expertise and ideas from within the company.
Of course Wikipedia has a definitions for Invented Here:
. . .that occurs when management of an organization is uncomfortable with innovation or development conducted in-house. Reasons why this might be the case are varied, and range from a lack of confidence in the staff within the organisation to a desire to have a third party to blame in the event that a project fails. One effect of this version of “Invented Here” is that detailed knowledge of the innovation or development never passes to permanent employees, resulting in recurring additional expenditure and a lack of goodwill and bankable experience by employees.
One quotation that sums up the philosophy of Invented Here is “Gee, it can’t be worth much if someone local thought of it first.
Here’s a few situations that describe the Invented Here phenomena:
- You’ve been trying to practice lean at your company for a while, with some success. Then, upper management catches a hold of the promise of lean and hires outside consultants. You are left to take a backseat and your ideas are seen as less than the ideas that come from the consultants.
- You are the resident expert at some xyz topic. But, your out of luck because you work for a company that know you’re an expert at xyz, but they’d rather hire someone outside the company to help them with xyz.
This phenomena is especially damaging if the ideas and thoughts that are dismissed are ideas and thoughts from people that rank lower in the company.
There is a similar but opposite corporate and social phenomena call Not Invented Here.
Not Invented Here
Similar to Invented Here, the opposite is also true: a situation where outside innovation or ideas are not as worthy as those developed within a company. Here are a few examples:
- You network with other lean practitioners and supply chain executives and tell each other about the internal lean programs at your respective companies. Instead of listening with the goal to learn, your chances for learning are cut-off at the start because you’ve made up your mind that your way is better than others’.
At your company, how do these two social and organizational phenomena rear it’s ugly head?