Dec 22, 2008

Barriers to innovation and change: a first cut at a framework

For some time now, we’ve been discussing within our team our unique focus: identifying and understanding the barriers to innovation and change that would address climate change., i.e what's stopping us from implementing or deploying given technological innovation and changes to reduce GHG emissions.

Our colleague and interim chair of the project’s advisory board Tom Brzustowski has sketched out a preliminary framework for classifying these barriers. As we progress, we will identify more of these frameworks, and we will have the opportunity in the new year to meet with subject matter experts and practitioners to put these barriers to test.

Here are Tom’s preliminary categories of barriers and notes:

No appropriate institution exists
. Turf issues among existing institutions break up the needed perspective
. Current institutions don't fit but claim jurisdiction

. Established practices delay new approaches
. Shortages of people (e.g. trades) with the necessary skills and knowledge

. Resistance to change at the individual level: "old dog, new tricks", etc.
. Change in life/work patterns - too big, too sudden, too many people involved

. "taboos"
. "can't imagine…"
. Surprising objections to change in doing things apparently unrelated to the substance

. too expensive in the short term
. not enough credit
. not enough investors, lenders, etc
. new risks, not understood

. other priorities
. long-term measures, sometimes of preventive nature, don't bring much . political return

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