Seven Ways to Foster Innovation in the Workplace
Of all the qualities most prized in today’s workplace, innovation holds the primary place.
Being able to think nimbly and creatively and differently from all the rest makes you a prize corporations and organizations are willing to pay handsomely to acquire.
How is it that you can acquire this innovative mindset that makes you so valuable and your work so creative?
Here are seven roads to take to get yourself on the innovation highway:
Be a problem finder
The world is full of problem solvers, but there are very few people who find the problems before the clients do and solve them before they become an issue.
The trick in being truly innovative is to be able to discern the problems that other people don’t see and then solve them.
How do you do that?
Start by asking great questions. For example, when you are with your clients, instead of always pushing your agenda on them, find out what situation is really bothering them, no matter how insignificant or impossible it seems.
Innovation begins by finding the right question, not the right answer.
Pay attention to the details
Wherever you are, be conscious of your surroundings. Even if the scene is one you have seen a hundred times, note the details and if anything has changed.
The innovative person is constantly checking all the things in their world and creating connections. Keep a notebook in your pocket or a mobile app on your phone that lets you record thoughts, ideas and images that strike you as something you need to consider later.
There is wisdom just waiting to be found all around us, but most of us are too busy with our predetermined agendas to notice it.
Add a done-what component to your to-do list
When you have an innovative mindset, it is not enough to fill each day with a series of accomplishments.
As satisfying as it feels to study a to-do list and see everything accomplished, it will help more to schedule time each day to look over the list and consider those things that were done and if they were done effectively.
What really worked well? What didn’t? What was a struggle? Why was it a struggle?
Ask yourself: “What did I build today that I could build upon tomorrow?”
If you are a doer, you will accomplish much. But it is only when you schedule the time to reflect on what you have done that you give innovation a time to percolate.
Hone your sense of empathy
Innovation is thought to be a process of finding solutions, but the big question we need to ask to build an innovation mindset is who our solutions are for.
Keep a vision in your mind of the customer you are helping. What is best for them?
That means that you have to have a deep understanding of their experiences with your products and services and immerse yourself in what you do from their perspective. You need empathy.
You need to put yourself in your customer’s shoes before you can create solutions that wow them.
Be a creator
Having innovative ideas is just a small part of having an innovative company.
Your ideas will not enrich you and others if you can’t bring them to fruition through your hard work.
You need to discuss them and consider them and reflect on them, but then you have to take action and implement them.
That is how good ideas become great ideas for your company.
Don’t be afraid to take risks
The killer to innovation is the attitude that “we tried this once and it didn’t work.” Or worse still, “this is how we do things here.”
Process is good and in fact, process and systems are necessary in any business to achieve a high level of efficiency.
But when it comes to developing new ideas into products and services, sometimes you have to go down different roads and abandon what you have always done.
You need to try something different as you build on your failures. To innovate, it is as vital to know what doesn’t work as to know what does.
The true innovation mindset allows you to change with a purpose, to search with joy to see unique things, and to interpret these things differently.
Develop a resilient mindset
Moving hand in hand with the innovative mindset is the resilient mindset. In business and in life, often things do not go entirely as you planned, or your first attempt may not be successful.
Innovators do not give up on the road to executing their great ideas.
Remember that 12 publishers rejected J. K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book. Resilience was all she had at that time as a penniless single mom.
Walt Disney’s first animation company went bankrupt.
Twenty-seven publishers rejected Theodore Seuss Geisel’s first children’s book, the class we all know now as “The Cat in the Hat” by Dr. Seuss.
Innovation mindsets don’t give up. They know when they have a good idea.
Paula Morand is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold leadership expert and brand strategist brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and impact in a more bold fashion. 24 years, 27,000 clients, 34 countries, 15 books, former radio personality, 11x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.
Check out Paula’s best selling books: “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything”, “Dreaming BIG and Being BOLD: Inspiring stories from Trailblazers, Visionaries and Change Makers” book series; and due to be released December 6th “Bold Vision: A Leader’s Playbook for Managing Growth” go to Amazon http://ow.ly/i8yW307ix67
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