I received a newsletter from my University that read, "Are you promoting innovation, diversity, and excellence at [university name]?"

I was with a friend and we both saw the email on our phones. I quipped "Nope. I'm an agent of mediocrity, exclusion, and ..." but I couldn't think of a good antonym for innovation in this context.

What would a good opposite of innovation have been?

7 Answers 7


I’m eager to scuttle any efforts to advance. In this context the word you may be looking for: backwards. For a sentence like “Nope. I'm a backwards agent of mediocrity and exclusion.”


The Merriam-Webster definition of innovation is:

1 : the introduction of something new
2 : a new idea, method, or device : NOVELTY

So, instead of promoting something new, you could be said to be promoting something the same as everything else.

In other words:

"I'm an agent of imitation."


2 : something produced as a copy : COUNTERFEIT

: resembling something else that is usually genuine and of better quality : not real

Alternatively, rather than talking about introducing something that isn't new, you could be talking about doing something that takes away from what already exists:

"I'm an agent of deterioration."


: the action or process of becoming impaired or inferior in quality, functioning, or condition : the state of having deteriorated
// rust deterioration
// the deterioration of academic standards


1 : to make inferior in quality or value : IMPAIR
// Exposure to sunlight may deteriorate the paint.



adjective lacking in movement, action, or change, especially in a way viewed as undesirable or uninteresting. (of a process or variable) not able to be changed during a set period, for example while a program is running.


unchanged fixed stable steady unchanging changeless unvarying invariable constant consistent uniform undeviating


lack of activity, growth, or development.

All the definitions are provided by the google dictionary extension.

  • "An agent of static" doesn't make much sense.
    – lost
    Commented Jan 16, 2019 at 0:32

"... the status quo"

the existing state of affairs


I think it goes with the flow of what you're saying a bit more naturally than the thesaurus answers.

Nope. I'm an agent of mediocrity, exclusion, and the status quo.


At the time, I used traditionalism but I felt that could have been improved upon. I thought there might be a more business-specific word that would be a better antonym for innovation.

the upholding or maintenance of tradition, especially so as to resist change.


I depends on how badly you want to oppose innovation.  If you just want to dig your feet into the ground and stay where you are, then stagnation and the status quo are good answers.  But a true opponent of progress would want to regress; to turn the clock back to the way things had been before; to revert to things that have already been replaced.  You would be an agent of obsolescence:

Collins English Dictionary:

    Obsolescence is the state of being no longer needed because something newer or more efficient has been invented.

Macmillan Dictionary:

    the state of becoming old-fashioned and no longer used, especially because of being replaced by something newer and more effective

ODO (Definition of obsolescent):

    Becoming obsolete.
    ‘the custom is now obsolescent’

So, you can use a word that means that you’re impeding innovation.  Or you can go above and beyond (below and beyond?) and be an agent of obsolescence.


Consider ruination:

The action or fact of ruining someone or something or of being ruined.
‘commercial malpractice causes the ruination of thousands of people’
Oxford Living Dictionaries

It opposes innovation, which aims to create something new, by actively trying to ruin what presently exists.

I'm an agent of mediocrity, exclusion, and ruination.

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