Innovation Theater – How to Fake It ‘Till You Make It

Innovation Theater - How to Fake It 'Till You Make It

GUEST POST from Arlen Meyers

The overwhelming number of doctors, engineers and scientists don’t have an entrepreneurial mindset. What’s more, when they have an idea, they don’t know what to do with it since they will not learn those competencies in their formal training. They just don’t know how to innovate their way out of our sick care mess.

But, that hasn’t stopped lots of them from trying, include non-sick care entrepreneurs. They just improvise.

Now that Elizabeth Holmes has been convicted, many are commenting on the pros and cons of the “fake it ’till you make it” ethos of entrepreneurs and Silicon Valley. But, is this really a black and white issue? Is it true that “You have no business being something you are not, or doing something without proving your worth.” I venture to say many of us, including me, have done something that was not a good fit and we have all tried things when we simple did not know what we did not know.

Here’s how to fake it when you don’t know what you are doing or you forgot your lines:

  1. Avoid these wannapreneur rookie mistakes.
  2. If you are a female, find a male wing man so someone will invest in your product
  3. Surround yourself with people who are way above your pay grade at lots of Meetups
  4. Practice Therantology
  5. When you inevitably fail, make a big deal out of it and about how much you learned from your mistakes and include them on your Linked profile. Rinse. Repeat
  6. Wear a fleece vest with your company logo
  7. Plead ignorance about how hard it is to get anybody in sick care to change and the long sales cycles.
  8. Be sure you have lots of hood ornaments (doctors with fancy titles) on your advisory board prominently posted on your website
  9. Hire a virtual assistant that answers all of your calls and says that she/he will not be able to immediately connect you because you are in an investor meeting
  10. Get your co-working space guy to allow you to use more space than you are actually paying for when people come for meetings. Bribe interns with pizza to come and look busy.
  11. Forget being your authentic self. “You are generally better off coming across as likable, which will generally require some effort, restraint, and attention to what others expect and want to see. Seeming authentic in the process is the cherry on top of the cake, but it requires a fair amount of faking.”
  12. Try being a good rebel even if you are a bad one.
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During these times, we are supposed to wear a mask. Most of us wear a mask all the time to hide our insecurities or avoid being outed as an imposter or physician wannapreneur, so none of this should be new to you.

 In a follow-up to their February 2021 article challenging the commonly understood definition of imposter syndrome, authors Ruchika Tulshyan and Jodi-Ann Burey offer actionable steps managers can take to end imposter syndrome in their organizations. Doing so will require work at both the interpersonal and organizational levels, and success will depend in part on gathering data and implementing real mechanisms for accountability. The authors call on managers to stop calling natural, human tendencies of self-doubt, hesitation, and lack of confidence “imposter syndrome.” Those who want women to lend their full talents and expertise must question the culture at work — not their confidence at work.

These things come with practice. But, since you are part of innovation theater, practice your lines, be sure you are wearing the right costume and that the stage is set properly. Break a leg.

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One thought on “Innovation Theater – How to Fake It ‘Till You Make It

  1. Pingback: Top 100 Innovation and Transformation Articles of 2022 | Human-Centered Change and Innovation

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