I came across a very insightful talk about innovation that Scott Berkun, author of The Myths of Innovation, gave to a group at Google. Note: It's about 60 mins long. If you are pressed for time there is one particular segment that is an outstanding example of the hurdles a worker must overcome to bring an idea about.
In a nutshell, this segment is about a 3M engineer who got shot down by his boss 3 times for an idea and still did it. The boss saw the error of his ways after the innovation went on to become their biggest money maker. The boss went on to become the chairman of the board and put into place a philosophy to help make sure that what happened to the engineer he shot down wouldn’t be repeated. Here is a quote of his basic rule of management:
"As our business grows, it becomes increasingly necessary to delegate responsibility and to encourage men and women to exercise their initiative. This requires considerable tolerance. Those men and women, to whom we delegate authority and responsibility, if they are good people, are going to want to do their jobs in their own way.
"Mistakes will be made. But if a person is essentially right, the mistakes he or she makes are not as serious in the long run as the mistakes management will make if it undertakes to tell those in authority exactly how they must do their jobs.
"Management that is destructively critical when mistakes are made kills initiative. And it's essential that we have many people with initiative if we are to continue to grow."
-William McKnight, 1948, 3M Chairman of the Board
This segment mentioned above starts about 21:30