I believe I've already asked this question but since I can't search among my own questions, I'll ask it again, I forgot what I was answered with.

What do you call an excessively protective environment that stifles innovation? For example:

High tariffs created a _______ that made domestic enterprises increasingly fall behind their foreign competitors. Once the tariffs were lifted, many of them were forced to shut down crushed by cheaper and more competitive imports.

Here in Russia, we have the term 'greenhouse conditions'.

  • 1
    By the way, you can search your own questions with advanced search, e.g. user:101901 is:q finds all your questions, and you can add search terms there.
    – cigien
    Apr 5, 2021 at 15:49
  • @cigien I couldn't find it. I don't know, maybe I asked it elsewhere Apr 5, 2021 at 16:04
  • It's also possible that the question might have been deleted. You can find your own deleted posts (up to a certain point in the past) from your profile page.
    – cigien
    Apr 5, 2021 at 16:19
  • It's not an exact fit for the example sentence, but a related term is hothouse flower or a flower that can't be grown under natural conditions. It's used metaphorically to refer to people or companies who have gotten so used to being cared for that they don't learn (or forget) how to take care of themselves.
    – ColleenV
    Apr 5, 2021 at 18:09
  • High import tariffs stifled domestic companies, causing them to fall increasingly behind foreign competitors. [I don't much like domestic, better to say our or the country].
    – Lambie
    May 14, 2021 at 16:27

2 Answers 2


You could say a creatively stifling environment, they spoon feed you (I don't think this is right for your context), they molly-coddle you, or patronizing/paternalistic company. It depends on exactly how they are stifling the innovation? Is it a Kafka-esque bureaucracy, is it the hierarchy, is it the stagnation of the company, is it lack of respect for a person, etc.

  • I think "stifling" is the usual adjective for this kind of atmosphere, with the literal sense of a place with no air where you can't breathe, and the metaphorical one where all activity is difficult or impossible and people move less or not at all.
    – Stuart F
    Aug 4, 2023 at 14:19

Greenhouse conditions don't necessarily stifle innovation on their own, they typically magnify the impact of other things. In English, we call it the greenhouse effect.

I don't understand the leap you've made from high tariffs to an environment that stifles creativity. I think you need to add some more information to help your reader make the connection between the two.

  • Lack of competition stifles innovation, it's pretty straightforward Oct 24, 2022 at 20:56
  • Where does it say "lack of competition" in the paragraph? Oct 24, 2022 at 20:58
  • Well, "protecting" domestic manufacturers from foreign competition is what tariffs do, no need to spell that out Oct 25, 2022 at 7:43
  • Ok, I didn't realize all your readers are experts in economics. In that case, use "greenhouse effect." Oct 26, 2022 at 4:27
  • It has strong environmental connotations, won't do Oct 26, 2022 at 12:26

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