“What do you do here?”

That’s question I often ask people in organisations. It’s interesting to hear people describe their roles, their jobs, their sets of tasks. Some people are self-limiting (“I sort the debtors accounts reports every Thursday”), while others are grandiose (“I’m responsible for our company culture”).

Almost no one says, “I start stuff.”

This is surprising if you think about it.

If there is no one starting stuff, initiating things in the company, then where does innovation come from?

Not the ideas; no, there are plenty of those, but the starting. If all that we are missing is the spark of life, the motive force, why is this overlooked?

Where is the senior manager of starting? How many noes have you surmounted before you get to a yes? Clearly, there is a guy in charge of the plant or the sales force or the money. But who is in charge of “yes”?

When it comes to innovation, it is important to say yes more than no.

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