The buzzword in today’s world is innovation. Everyone wants to be innovative, wants to get their staff to think outside the box, find new solutions, create the next Facebook. Here is some thinking about how to be innovative in today’s ever-changing world:
- Look for innovation in small increments. Sometimes the best solutions are not earth-changing; they are small changes. For an entrepreneur, it might be realising that his or her time is better spent seeking business than doing paperwork and hiring a virtual assistant to help out. For a government organisation, small increments could be moving a planning schedule up 3 – 5 weeks to ensure that voices are heard in a way that can be assessed and implemented in order to avoid service delivery protests. In a corporate setting it might mean bringing in a different pair of eyes to look over a strategic plan or new project in order to get a new perspective.
- Take a fresh look at the world. It’s hard to think about new approaches when you drive the same way to work, eat the same lunch, look at the same four walls every day. What are you doing different every day? How do you refresh your brain, and that of your team? When we read a book, see a play, visit an art gallery, our brains are stimulated in new ways. Just as it takes time to get nerves to re-generate, it takes time to re-wire our brains in new ways. To stimulate new thinking, take a fresh look – what is out there that we haven’t done before?
- Nurture baby ideas. Ask any of the wildly successful entrepreneurs and business people today – very few were successful out of the box. Ideas are like babies – soft, pliable and easily damaged. Nurture your baby ideas and see where they go – don’t shoot them down.
- Don’t be afraid to ask. The best way to be creative is to take a child-like approach to the world. How did this come about? Why does it exist? Why are we doing things this way? How can we do it better? Curiosity of mind is the godfather to innovation – without it, nothing new takes place.
- Make innovation fun and part of everyday life. Being creative can be wildly stimulating. It needs to be fun. We can’t sit in a boardroom and demand innovation. We need to create the environment where it can happen. How geared is your environment to stimulate creativity?
There are no simple solutions to developing innovation, but there are ways to help it along. Our steps include looking for innovation in small increments, taking a fresh look at the world, nurturing baby ideas, not being afraid to ask, and most importantly, making innovation fun and part of every day life.
Managing Director | Z.A.ZEN Consulting