10 Innovation Roadblocks

  • Learning Objectives for Project Managers and Innovation Personnel
  • To understand what is meant by an innovation roadblock
  • To recognize the underlying causes of the roadblocks and what actions can be taken
  • To understand that they may need support from the governance team to get through the roadblocks


Roadblocks are barriers, barricades, impediments or obstructions that can prevent a project manager from taking a desired course of action. For some roadblocks, the project manager can create work-around activities to prevent costly delays. On others, such as approvals or legal issues, the PM may not be able to circumvent the roadblock and may have to fight through it with the help of others. There are several roadblocks that can impact innovation success and many of the roadblocks cannot be predicted.


Past success is no guarantee of future performance. “The failure of success” occurs when companies become so successful that they refuse to challenge results. You can go from “best in class” to “worst in class” with a loss of innovation capability. As stated by Charles E. Sorenson ([1956] 2006):

It isn't the incompetent who destroy an organization. The incompetent never get into a position to destroy it. It is those who achieved something and want to rest upon their achievements who are forever clogging things up. (p. 51)

Some articles call the failure of success as the competency trap where people argue ...

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