October 18, 2018

Innovation is a Mindset

I am often asked the question, “What is innovation – how do you define it?” Innovation means many things to different people. For me, innovation is not a thing one does, but rather a mindset and responsibility towards improvements. Perhaps most important, innovation is settling comfortably into ambiguity and not allowing perfection to get in the way of trying something new. Often innovation is perceived as complex, indescribable, and tough to wrap our heads around. Below are ten ways to make innovation a tangible company value, mindset, and culture.

  • Innovate in areas you’re passionate about improving.
  • Fall in love with the problem you are trying to solve, not the solution, which allows your passion to be a part of the problem-solving.
  • Be biased towards action. Put your solution out there, move, get reactions, and don’t wait for perfection.
  • Fail fast, fail forward, and fail frequently. Failure is not a sign your innovation is flawed but rather proof that you are innovating.
  • Lean in, and lead innovation! Push yourself and lead others to find their inner innovator.
  • Work as a team. No initiative or project ever died from over-communication. Talk and make things better.
  • Workarounds are an implicit sign that innovation is happening. Look around you. Where do you see workarounds?
  • Don’t try to define innovation — it’s not an event or a big “thing” — it’s woven into who we are and what we do every day.
  • Embrace radical collaboration. Answers come from all around and are often best articulated by those directly involved in the day-to-day problem you are trying to solve.
  • Innovation is a way of thinking and being, and while having all the pieces, processes, and strategies in place can help materialize your innovation, innovation is not a workflow or project plan.

At times, innovation can feel overwhelming. By looking at it through this lens, we can all better embody innovation.

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