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Attract The Disruptors

by Braintrust2023 | October 12, 2023 | Categories: General,

By Oleta Lane Salyards

Challenge:   We can’t seem to attract or keep people who challenge our thinking, but we need them to see things differently and bring new solutions for improving our innovation.

Solution:    Don’t be ‘clubby’ like this Ivy League University.

A scientist at a prestigious Ivy League university, Katalin Karaiko (and her partner Drew Weissman) just won a Nobel Prize in Medicine for their research paving the way for Covid-19 vaccines and treatments for cancer and untold other diseases. It was history repeating itself.  A disruptor, shunned by colleagues and relegated to far off campus lands, succeeds in developing a breakthrough idea to improve the lives of millions of people.


Why should you care about someone who ‘doesn’t fit the organization’s mold’ or at times even makes colleagues feel uncomfortable and why should you protect them?  As Apple’s brilliant, 1997 TV campaign “Here’s to the Crazy Ones” (  articulates so eloquently, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”  These are the disruptors, and every innovative organization needs a few of them.  They can be notoriously hard to attract and retain, especially in efficiency-driven industries like CPG. Here are some thoughts on how to do it:


  1. Understand and acknowledge their role and value to the organization and the innovation process.  The questions they ask broaden perspectives that are important to the development of good ideas and solutions.
  2. Provide a clear platform that allows their contributions to be heard without being shunned. Accept that venturing astray can be helpful in defining the innovation path and lean into the discomfort.
  3. Listen past the ‘noise’ of their ideas to the underlying seeds that connect them. As uber-absorbers of culture, data, insights and more, disruptors often make connections others cannot see.
  4. Reward them differently. No person embodies the process of innovation more than the disruptor.  They need permission to fail in order to succeed at driving change.
  5. Encourage their exposure to more diverse projects and solutions
    because their ability to make connections across cross-functional
    projects can provide significant productivity advantages. Remember,
    disruptors thrive when stimulated by unique challenges.

#innovation #disruptors #theartofinnovation #lanesofperspectives #lodestoneinnovation #executivestrategy #buildinginnovationteams

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Lodestone Innovation is a brain trust of experts in innovation, branding, and marketing. With global executive experience leading some of the most recognized companies and brands in the world, we transform organizations into innovative, brand-driven, growth-focused successes. We do it in close partnership and advisory roles as well as by rolling up our sleeves in augmented leadership positions.

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Oleta Lane Salyards
(469) 853-7671

Paul Salyards
(214) 415-4193

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5322 Miller Ave
Dallas, TX 75206
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