Innovation seems to be the buzzword of the decade.
We live in an age when innovation is everywhere, affecting all aspects of our lives. Digital transformation in particular can be disruptive and can leave some individuals feeling outside the process. To get the full benefit of changes, organisations should engage their entire team.
Unfortunately innovation may be perceived to be the responsibility of R&D or marketing teams. They may know it’s important, but they don’t feel part of it. The challenge for business leaders then, is to bring innovation into every aspect of their business, on every level, at every possible opportunity, and involving everyone.
The 2016 Global CEO Outlook report from KPMG highlighted the impact of innovation. Some 1300 CEOs were interviewed and 82 per cent indicated they are worried that their products or services may not be relevant in three year time. Yet a significant majority (77 per cent) said it was important to specifically include innovation in their business strategy with clear targets and objectives.
Define Your Innovation Goal
Innovation starts from a personal drive to challenge the status quo or a desire to make things better. Whether you’re a leader or a team member, understanding your goal or your vision allows you to validate your commitment. Why are you doing it? What do you want to achieve? Your goal will help you push for that last mile or help you achieve bigger things you are hoping for. Your goal will help define your identity and purpose which is a critical part of the journey.
Focus on What You Are Doing
Many innovations have a common theme: it was personal. People worked on something that they are completely involved in and clearly passionate about. This was evident in the recent Optus Future Makers Program designed to foster digital innovation. Dr Rowan Tulloch from Macquarie University pitched his “The Game Change” software to better engage and motivate students in the classroom.
And Brian Collyer from Yourtown, a youth service charity, presented the “Wellbeing Coach” app/web portal to give young people access to resources that will enhance communication between counsellor and client. These inspiring individuals initially thought of a better way of doing things and are now helping change the social landscape.
Think of the common problems you keep hearing in the hallway. Take note of what your customers have been saying. Start there, and you will be surprised where it can take you.
Gather Your Troops
Magic happens when people start working together. It can start as a casual conversation to simply bounce off your idea or a small group of like-minded people exploring opportunities. Bottom line: it’s a team effort. You need to leverage on each other’s experience to develop and implement the idea.
It only takes a single person to be inspired but it will take a team to make it into reality.
Have A Go
Three words – Have a go!
Learn and Have Another Go
As much as it will hurt, you will need to embrace failure and see it as an opportunity to learn. Every attempt will be a chance to rebuild and refine. Every iteration will help you be a step closer to achieving your goal. Failure is just a reminder that you can do things better.
At Optus Wholesale’s annual Optus Spark Event in July 2016, Scott Anthony – an expert in driving innovation and growth for organisations talked about the need for companies to have the curiosity to explore, even if the probable outcome is failure. “You need to have the curiosity to fumble and try, and do different things to let the right idea emerge in the marketplace,” Scott Anthony said.
“The challenge for business leaders is to create an environment where this behaviour is encouraged and people are supported when things go wrong. Innovation will start to grow when failure is celebrated and people are recognised for simply having a go”
Innovation is indeed the buzzword; it will always be exciting if used in the right context. It opens up opportunities for people and businesses to create a better tomorrow. You will need to strip it down to uncover some practical steps you can use to incorporate innovation in everything you do.
What’s one thing you are passionate about at work that you want to change? Start with that and have a go… and then another.
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