This is similar to a design principle where "half the work is done by redefining the problem". The lack of support for quality learning programs is an opportunity to sell, educate or demonstrate the value to higher ups. The problem with lemons is an problem with how to make lemonade.
In the worlds of coaching, mentoring and therapy, this is called "the gentle art of reframing". When someone I'm coaching is feeling weak, inferior or inadequate, I see how that is the result of being strong in another way. Sensitivity is a strength in the context of caring and a weakness in a context that calls for a "thick skin". Creativity is a strength in a context of deteriorating circumstances and a weakness in a context that calls for conformity.
I'm currently reading: The Elegant Solution - Toyota's Formula for Mastering Innovation. Toyota has changed the question from "can this be improved?" to "what is impeding the perfection of this?" Their relentless pursuit of perfection" is made possible by their huge, financial success. Toyota spent a billion dollars bringing the first Lexus to market. They give new meaning to Michael Schrage's notion of "Serious Play". It took:
...six years, 1400 designers, 3700 engineers, 900 engine prototypes, 450 test models. And nearly two million test miles. (p.43)As we explore ways to improve learning experiences and outcomes, we could "face the facts" that the entire eLearning universe does not have a billion to spend on R&D. Bushel of lemons! Obvious weakness! Question answered!
Toyota's development process was highly technical, specialized and confined to experts. Automotive engineering is necessarily centralized and confined to competing in "red oceans" bloodied by rivals. instructional design is free of that.
It's possible to democratize the tools of production and distribution to generate a long tail of little guys creating diverse offerings for small followings. It's possible to spawn emergent citizen marketers, collaborative consumers and open sourced innovations. It's possible to nurture a gift economy of creative contributions with a leaderless, starfish-like, self-regenerating community. It's possible to use Web 2.0 tools to establish the connectedness that get all those contributors in synch.
Lemonade. Hidden strength. Changed the question!