If you really want to innovate, you need to make it a deliberate part of your process. You can't start at the moment innovation happens, but you can create an environment of constructive conflict where risks are taken, and efforts are honestly evaluated.
Innovation is unlike all the normal things we do on an everyday basis. That's why the conventional strategies we bring to organizational management are inadequate. Innovation requires its own unique set of skills. It's not so much thinking outside of the box as it is redefining what that box is.
Innovation is different from everything you do as a leader in three distinct ways. First, innovation happens in the future for which you currently have no data. In fact, one of the most common forms of resistance to innovation is excessive data collection because it stops your company from taking purposeful action. Second, innovation is a time-based form of value.
True innovation happens behind-the-scenes. Sure, new technologies and products and services that we perceive as breakthrough advancements look exciting, but the meaningful innovation is in the larger, more complicated processes that make those things possible.
Everywhere you look, you'll see this wildly contradictory set of desires and feelings toward change. We hate traffic jams, but we refuse to try self-driving cars. We dream of improving the quality and length of our lives, but we're reluctant to tamper with the genetic triggers of a disease.
Before there were TED talks, there were Chautauquas. In the late-nineteenth century, Americans looking for cultural stimulation and intellectual inspiration gathered for weeklong retreats of lectures, performances, and conversations.
Innovation isn't just a matter of ingenuity and resourcefulness—it's also a matter of capacity and courage. We're always going to have too many things to do in a day. We'll always be too busy to start that novel or open that business.
If radical change is what you seek, then what you need is a stable foundation on which to build that innovation. Think of it this way: the infrastructures that support our modern world have done the heavy lighting for you.
Benjamin Franklin saw that there were uses and applications for his inventions outside of his original intentions. He understood that the only way to fully realize that vision was to make it everyone's. What started out as Franklin's invention became the world's collective creation.
Novelists go through years of drafts and workshops before they end up with the best version of their work. Innovators are also perpetual revisers who incessantly rework and reimagine the stories behind their ideas. The person you might think is your villain just might turn out to be your hero.
Here's the thing that innovators tend to forget: bureaucracy is our friend. The rules and regulations of any organization are also the forces that unwittingly create whitespaces, the opportunities to break new boundaries.
The strategies you use to market a breakthrough new product will not help you re-conceptualize the way you build an old one. So how do you decide which tool to use when it comes to your innovation project? Here are three factors to consider.
INNOVATION YOU reveals the world-renowned "Dean of Innovation" Jeff DeGraff's unique four-step program to bolster your ingenuity and remake your life. From forging ahead in a new career to losing weight to finally pursuing that long-held dream, DeGraff's strategies are effective and easy to follow.