Gary's Newsletter 366: Becoming an InnovatorPosted by Gary R Collins on January 16, 2010 Comments 1
BECOMING AN INNOVATOR
What traits characterize innovators? How can you or the people you work with become innovators? Why are Apple's Steve Jobs, Amazon's Jeff Bezos or the founders of eBay, Facebook, or Skype all innovative entrepreneurs? An in-depth six-year study reported in Harvard Business Review (December, 2009) shows that original thinking, creative ideas, and groundbreaking action come from people who hone and practice the following innovation-building skills:
- Observing. Innovators keep learning, looking for new ideas, thinking of ways to challenge the status quo and do things differently.
- Questioning. Innovative entrepreneurs ask, "Why?" and "Why not?" and "What if we...?" They ask "if we tried something different, what would happen?" Innovators like brainstorming and challenging the way things are done. As a result they come up with fresh ideas.
- Experimenting. "Unlike observers who intensely watch the world, experimenters construct interactive experiences and try to provide unorthodox activities to see what insights might emerge." The researchers found that "one of the most powerful experiments innovators can engage in is living and working overseas." The more countries a person has lived in, the more likely he or she is to "leverage that experience to deliver innovative products, processes, or businesses."
- Networking. Innovators make a conscious effort to visit and meet people from other walks of life. They attend conferences, read broadly, expand their knowledge base, and connect with people who have different ideas. Here's a suggestion: contact the five most innovative people you know and ask them what makes their thinking creative.
- Associating. This involves exploring new and unrelated ideas or activities, pondering how these might suggest new ways of doing things.
- Practicing. Innovators do all of the above as a way of life. They don't just think differently. They act differently and aren't afraid to take risks to make change happen.
What relevance does this have for your leadershbip, your work as a coach or counselor, your ministry or your life and career?