Is Fit a deterrent to innovation?


All you hear when you talk to companies is fit, the right fit, fits in with the team, etc. The problem is fit, can and usually does mean ensuring that the people you bring in, are of similar type, thoughts, skills, demeanor, and attitude. The problem with that is it goes totally against what it takes for innovation to happen. Innovation is what happens when people with different backgrounds, views, demeanor, skills, and attitudes come together to solve a problem or improve on something. So you can see how these 2 concepts can go against each other and in fact how it makes “Fit” a deterrent to innovation. Of course that said let me qualify what I mean here, I mean when the term or idea of “Fit” is taken to extreme, when we do not leave open any room for differences to be a good thing. While this may be not happen a lot it does happen sometimes. Sometimes people just get so caught up in the “Fit”, they forget differences can be a good thing too.

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Comment by Amy McDonald on April 13, 2013 at 9:34pm

I totally agree that constantly seeking the same fit can really hold back an organization when it comes to innovation. I have always been of the opinion that adding someone to the team that will challenge the others a bit, shake things up, if you will, is critical to any organization that seems to be lacking in the "oomph" it needs to move to the next level. Unfortunately for some organizations that have had a long run of success, recognizing the need to do this is difficult.

Comment by Valentino Martinez on April 14, 2013 at 6:05pm

Yes, a "fit - walk-this-way focus" can be a deterrent to innovation if innovation is not part of a hiring group's work focus.  Some employers are content with the status quo or actually feel they can't afford to invest in upgrades or innovation.

On the other hand, Marketing, R&D, science & technology groups -- some actually have "innovations" as part of their group title -- pursue, nurture and invest in their talent toward innovation outcomes.  In fact, most hiring managers require problem solvers which always opens the door to innovative thinking.


Comment by Stacy Chapman on April 17, 2013 at 5:07pm

I was on a panel last night and someone in the audience objected that "if everyone else in the team has a Harvard PhD and had the same professors, then you need to hire others like that otherwise they won't fit in".  Seriously, that's what he said!  A recruiter!  Then of course we got into a knock down drag out argument about diversity, innovation and the value of different points of view.  Darn I wish you'd been there to join in - couldn't agree more with this post!


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