The Top 100 Lamest Excuses for Not Innovating

The Top 100 Lamest Excuses for Not Innovating

By Mitch Ditkoff

by: Mitch Ditkoff

There are some people who know everything about social media. There are others who know everything about hip hop. There are still others who know everything about the mating habits of tsetse flies.

Me? I know everything about excuses — or at least the kind of excuses that people who work in organizations make about why they can’t innovate.

And while it’s easy for the average person to make a logical case for the validity of their excuses, they are still excuses. True innovators don’t buy into this stuff — not willing to bail out at so-called “reasonable explanations.”
I’m guessing that you, oh savvy HuffPost reader, might recognize some of the excuses on the list below. You may even have some of them. Or maybe your business partner does. Or your team. Or your boss.

Being aware of these excuses is the first step to being free of them. (“Awareness cures,” said Fritz Perls). The second step? Doing something about them — which is why I end my little rant with a simple process for helping you go beyond your excuses. Ready? Good. Onward!

1. I don’t have the time.

2. I can’t get the funding.

3. My boss will never go for it.

4. Were not in the kind of business likely to innovate.

5. We won’t be able to get it past legal.
6. I’ve got too much on my plate.

7. I’ll be punished if I fail.

8. I’m just not not the creative type.

9. I’m juggling way too many projects.

10. I’m too new around here.
11. I’m not good at presenting my ideas.

12. No one, besides me, really cares about innovation.

13. There’s too much bureaucracy here to get anything done.

14. Our customers aren’t asking for it.

15. We’re a risk averse culture. Always will be.
16. We don’t have an innovation process.

17. We don’t have a culture of innovation.

18. They don’t pay me enough to take on this kind of project.

19. My boss will get all the credit.

20. My career path will be jeopardized if this doesn’t fly.
21. I’ve already got enough headaches.

22. I’m no good at office politics.

23. My home life will suffer.
24. I’m not disciplined enough.

25. It’s an idea too far ahead of its time.
26. I won’t be able to get enough resources.

27. I don’t have enough information.

28. Someone will steal my idea.

29. It will take too long to get results.

30. We’re in a down economy.
31. It will die in committee.

32. I’ll be laughed out of town.

33. I won’t be able to get the ear of senior leadership.

34. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

35. The concept is too disruptive.
36. I won’t be able to get enough support.

37. I don’t tolerate ambiguity all that well.

38. I’m not in a creative profession.

39. Now is not a good time to start a new project.

40. I don’t have the right personality to build a team.
41. Our company is going through too many changes right now.

42. They won’t give me any more time to work on the project.

43. If I succeed, too much will be expected of me.

44. Nothing ever changes around here.

45. Things are changing so fast, my head is spinning.
46. Whatever success I achieve will be undone by somebody else.

47. I don’t have enough clout to get things done.

48. It’s just not worth the effort.

49. I’m getting close to retirement.

50. My other projects will suffer.
51. Been there, done that.

52. I don’t want another thing to think about.

53. I won’t have any time left for my family.

54. A more nimble competitor will beat us to the punch.

55. Teamwork is a joke around here.
56. I’ve never done anything like this before.

57. I won’t be rewarded if the project succeeds.

58. We’re not measured for innovation.

59. I don’t have the right credentials.

60. We need more data.
61. It’s not my job.

62. It will hard sustaining the motivation required.

63. I’ve tried before and failed.

64. I’m not smart enough to pull this off.

65. I don’t want to go to any more meetings.
66. It will take way too long to get up to speed.

67. Our Stage Gate process will sabotage any hope of success.

68. I’m not skillful at building business cases.

69. Summer’s coming.

70. The marketplace is too volatile.
71. This is a luxury we can’t afford at this time.

72. I think we’re about to be acquired.

73. I’m trying to simplify my life, not complicate it.

74. The dog ate my homework.

75. Help! I’m a prisoner in a Chinese fortune cookie factory.
76. My company just wants to squeeze more blood from the stone.

77. My company isn’t committed to innovation.

78. I don’t have the patience.

79. I’m not sure how to begin.

80. I’m too left-brained for this sort of thing.
81. I won’t be able to get the funding required.

82. I’m getting too old for this.

83. We’re too competitive, in-house. Collaboration is a rarity.

84. Spring is coming.

85. I’m hypoglycemic.
86. That’s Senior Leadership’s job

87. I’m thinking of quitting.

88. Market conditions just aren’t right.

89. We need to focus on the short term for a while.

90. Innovation, schminnovation.
91. What we really need are some cost cutting initiatives.

92. Six Sigma will take care of everything.

93. Mercury is in retrograde.

94. IT won’t go for it.

95. Maybe next year.
96. That’s my boss’s job.

97. That’s R&D’s job.

98. I would if I could, but I can’t, so I won’t.

99. First, we need to benchmark the competition.

100.It’s against my religion.

Four Simple Ways to go Beyond These Lame Excuses
1. Make a list of your five most bothersome excuses.
2. Turn each excuse into a question, beginning with the words “How can I?” or “How can we?” (For example, if your excuse is “It will take too long to get up to speed” you might ask “How can I find out what I need to know in the next 48 hours?” or “How can I find a mentor to guide me through the ramp up process?”)
3. Brainstorm each question — alone and with a few friends or teammates.
4. Choose at least one idea and do something about it within the next week.

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