Your reaction to criticism limits your innovation

Innovation is an exciting journey filled with countless challenges waiting to be conquered. But in the midst of the maze of problem solving, the most frightening aspect can be the reactions of others to the changes that innovation brings.

Let’s explore how your reaction to criticism can either fuel or hinder your innovative endeavors.

The nature of criticism

When introducing a new idea, be prepared for a wide range of reactions from colleagues, friends and acquaintances. Some may genuinely want to help you, while others may harbor hidden agendas. Let’s dissect these intentions:

Good intentions

Your friends and colleagues may actually mean well when they question your innovation. Their goal is to help you refine your idea by uncovering potential flaws that you may have overlooked. But for a new breakthrough idea, excessive questioning can be overwhelming. It has the potential to dampen your enthusiasm and make you rethink your idea or your work with the innovation.

Bad intentions

Innovation often brings life-changing ideas. If your innovation catches on, your friends may subconsciously feel that the status quo is threatened. Whether it’s because of how your idea will affect them, their relationship with you, or the possibility that your success will provoke jealousy, they may react by either ignoring your efforts or actively trying to sabotage them. Their resistance is not about you or your idea, but rather a fear of the changes it might bring.

Handle criticism gracefully

To cope with criticism during innovation, you need to develop a strategy for dealing with negativity. Here are some important steps to consider:

1. Accept it for what it is

Understand that negative reactions to innovation are often due to the shortcomings of others, not the merits of your idea. Realize that their answers reflect their own fears, insecurities or worries.

2. Get better at presenting ideas

Recognize that new ideas and innovations can be intimidating to others. Consider using softer ways to present your innovation. For example. by using the word “po”, to create space for a creatively developing discussion.

Alternatively, you can state that your idea is a work in progress and thus invite input in a less intimidating way. You can do that even if the concept is already very well developed.

3. Become a better listener

Recognize that not all feedback is rational or constructive. Learn to filter out unhelpful criticism and focus on feedback that can really help improve your innovation.

4. Seek support elsewhere

If the criticism becomes overwhelming, especially if you’re not talking to a stakeholder in your innovation, consider turning to someone else. Find more supportive individuals or groups to share your ideas with and return when your innovation is more refined and resilient.

5. Don’t take it personally

Avoid letting negative feedback be interpreted as a personal failure. Instead, adopt an entrepreneurial mindset and see setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning. Remember, it’s not the problem that’s the problem; it’s your reaction to it.


In conclusion, your reaction to criticism plays a crucial role in the innovation journey. Embrace criticism as an opportunity for growth, refine your presentation skills, and surround yourself with supportive individuals. By doing so, you can overcome the obstacles that come with innovation and get closer to turning your breakthrough ideas into reality.

After all, as someone have said, “it’s not the problem that’s the problem, it’s your reaction to it.”