Manager approvals

Adam Grant, Originals (p. 40):

When managers vet novel ideas, they’re in an evaluative mindset. To protect themselves against the risks of a bad bet, they compare the new notion on the table to templates of ideas that have succeeded in the past. When publishing executives passed on Harry Potter, they said it was too long for a children’s book; when [the division president] saw the Seinfeld pilot, he felt it was “too Jewish” and “too New York” to appeal to a wide audience.

The book goes on to cite studies which found that managers, test audiences, and the creator of a given work all had poor track records when predicting the creative work’s real-world success. Instead, the most accurate predictions were made by creative peers evaluating one another.

It makes you wonder why today’s companies still make most of their decisions via manager approvals. Which also makes you wonder if there might exist a more effective approach


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