Innovation – not because you have to, but because you want to


Image from medcrunch.net

What does innovation mean to you? I mean, how do you embrace it to create greater value for you and your company? Do you do it because you have to, or are you naturally innovative? Do you want to go out there and make things better or do you do it because it is part of your KPIs? While innovation may sometimes be force-fit into an organisation, it contributes best when we want this to happen. In this article, we remind ourselves that innovation starts with a growth mindset, and that be successful at it, you must want to do it, as opposed to needing to do it.

Innovation is change

Change and innovation; it is hard to decouple the two. Innovation requires change; and to make change successful, you need to innovate. Hence, innovation is nothing more than a means to do things better. Of course there must be parameters make define a change initiative as innovative: (1) it must not have been done before, (2) it must have a leveraged impact on the business, (3) it must be beneficial.

What can you do to innovate?

Because you want to innovate, here are 5 things you will want to do when you go about your daily work:

1. Question everything

Socrates once said, “An unexamined (unquestioned) life is not worth living.” If you go through life in a daze, and accepted everything as given, you will not rise to the challenge of innovation and change. The first thing you must want to do to be innovative is to question why something is being done, and ask if there is any way it could be done better. Continuously ask yourself these questions, and you will start uncovering new ways of doing things.

2. Look everywhere

When you start questioning, you also start looking at things differently. When you start looking for new things, you also start finding new opportunities. It is amazing when you start connecting seemingly disparate situations and form a new perspective. It is from this perspective that you will find new gems of innovation.

3. Start small; and improve along the way

Start small. Innovation does not have to be a big deal, so you don’t need to start perfectly; you will want to just get it going. You can improve it as you go. Expect that you will fail more often than not, and that is just fine.

4. Create a hypothesis-driven work life

Since you don’t know what you don’t know, create a Hypotheses Portfolio where you drive as many of such tests to find out what works and what don’t. This allows you to accept failure as a way of life; because it is.

5. Share your findings

You don’t want to keep your thoughts, ideas, and findings to yourself. Sometimes you might not know what you can do with them, but others might. Innovation is not a one-person endeavor; it is a team game. Leveraging more people’s thoughts will help you make innovation a success.

Because you want it

We are reminded that innovation starts with wanting it to happen. It then causes us to do things differently, see things differently, and create things differently. We do it not because we have to, but because we want to.

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