We are proud to announce that our new book ‘Nay-Sayers’ is currently available at Amazon.com. The book is for everyone who is tired of all those nay-sayers who dismiss your new invention or laugh at your innovative ideas.
If you are in the business of creating new ideas or products you have probably met them: the nay-sayers. The people who say your idea is not feasible, your proposal is ridiculous and no-one will be interested in your product.
Although it might seem that thinking of something new is the most difficult part is to generate new ideas, anyone involved in innovation, inventing, research, creating and tinkering knows that one of the hardest things to do in the process of innovation is to overcome resistance. Sometimes it seems utterly impossible to convince the nay-sayers, and arguing your case only makes it worse.
In the Nay-Sayers book we use examples from other famous innovators who encountered the nay-sayers in their careers, and translate how they’ve dealt with the resistance into a strategy you can use to convince the nay-sayers you are dealing with.
One of the best examples in the art of dealing with nay-sayers must be Charles Darwin and his book ‘On the Origin of Species’. Darwin is famously known for his evolution theory that all species must have evolved from common ancestors. Darwin was a British geologist and biologist who joined an expedition on the sailboat HMS The Beagle to Southern America. Duding this voyage he meticulously mapped all the species and geological phenomena he encountered, resulting in a diary with 1750 pages with notes, illustrations and observations and a collection of 5436 specimens of rocks, plants and animals.
When Darwin returned to his home after a journey that took 5 years, he slowly started to piece together his theory of evolution. While studying his notes and the specimen he brought with him, he discovered that species didn’t evolve in a linear fashion but more like a tree branching out. Less successful animals died out, only the fittest survived: the theory of natural selection. He also discovered that different species must have had a common ancestor, but when a species spread over a certain area like the Galapagos island, they evolved separately form each other. He borrowed the idea of an evolutionary process that branches out from the industrial concept of the division of labour. In an overcrowded area nature would favor variants that could exploit different aspects of a niche, just like tradesmen would when working in close proximity from each other.
But Darwin’s theory was highly controversial because it implied that humans were not a privileged species with its own lineage, but evolved form the same ancestor as other mammals. In the19th century most people in the western world were devout Christians. They believed that the world was created in 7 days by God and that humans were the pinnacle of his creation and something different than animals. Darwin’s theory of evolution undermined these beliefs and dethroned man as the crown of creation.
In Darwin’s days believing in evolution was -in Darwin’s own words- similar to “confessing a murder.” Darwin’s analogy with a capital offense was not so strange: Admitting you believed in evolution could land you in jail for blasphemy.
So how did Darwin deal with the nay-sayers? In contrast with what what you might expect Darwin took his time to publish his theory. He waited 23 years after his return before he finally published ‘On the Origin of Species’. Darwin wasn’t just biding his time, but employed several tactics during this period to ensure that his publication would be well received. Firstly, he worked hard to become recognized as an authority on biological matters after returning from his journey. For instance his detailed study of all known barnacles gained him the Royal Society’s Royal Medal in 1853. Secondly, he sought alliances with other scientists who had to everything to gain by supporting his theory. One of them was the biologist Thomas Henry Huxley, who was keen on removing the influence of the church from science. Scientists like Huxley were not so much supporting Darwin but supporting themselves and their own theories.
And thirdly he sought out the advice of his opponents like the biologist John Herschel about his book. A very smart move, because by doing so he made Herschel a part of the team. So when ‘On the Origin of Species’ was finally published on November 24th 1859 it was met with interest and less resistance than it would have received if Darwin would have just bluntly published it right after returning from his journey. Even the Church of England did not unanimously condemn Darwin as a heretic.
Darwin’s approach shows that it is possible to overcome resistance, even when your ideas are controversial. You cannot fight a war on multiple fronts. Darwin did not question the authority of his fellow scientists, but instead formed alliances with them, and even asked opposing scientists for their advice. He basically said, we might differ on this little issue, but in general we are the same. So when you find yourself in a similar situation, learn from Darwin and emphasize the similarities between you and your opponents, instead of magnifying the differences.
Darwin’s ideas about evolution are an example of how innovative ideas tend to meet with resistance. The Nay-Sayers book offers an explanation where resistance comes from, explores the different objections and arguments in various stages of the acceptance process, and advises you how to deal with different forms of resistance. The book offers a method to use the examples like this one about Darwin to create a strategy which makes your innovation acceptable and adoptable. It helps you to see your idea from the nay-sayers’ point of view so you can take proactive steps to anticipate resistance instead of awaiting the response of the public.
So wether you are an entrepreneur, work at a governmental organization, NGO, a business or an educational institute, the Nay-Sayers book will help you to successfully launch an innovative idea, process, service or product, and get you from a nay to a yea.