Do you know how to innovate?
As our world moves quickly away from the Industrial Age into this Technology/Idea Age -- we're being called upon to build something very different than our parents or grandparents did.
Our generation is being asked to create ideas, technologies, new solutions to age old problems -- all of which require us to be innovative.
What does that actually mean? It means coming up with something new, being creative, coming at problems in a fresh way. In business it means finding better ways to be valuable to your customers' lives.
A lot of people believe that they're not creative or they can't do that sort of work. I think that's rubbish. Everyone has it in them to find new answers. Or even to ask new questions that lead to new answers.
How do you do it? I might suggest you read a book I just finished called Innovate Like Edison by Sarah Miller Caldicott. (click here to check out the book*)
In this book, Caldicott identified the five competencies of innovation and then tells stories of how Thomas Edison (said to be the world's greatest innovator) and many modern day thinkers/business leaders exemplified these skills.
- Solution-Centered Mindset: Keeping an unwavering focus on finding solutions.
- Kaleidoscopic Thinking: Juggling multiple projects, generate many ideas and then make creative connections or discern patterns
- Full-Spectrum Engagement: Managing and balancing a massive workload with social life, family and other obligations.
- Master Mind Collaboration: Multiplying individual brain power by bringing the right people together.
- Super-Value Creation: Targeting all creations to an existing market and provide value to potential customers.
Before you poo poo this as something you don't have to worry about -- consider this recent quote from Seth Godin.
“For 80 years, you got a job, you did what you were told and you retired. People are raised on this idea that if they pay their taxes and do what they’re told, there’s some kind of safety net, or pension plan that’s waiting for them. But the days when people were able to get above average pay for average work are over.
If you’re the average person out there doing average work, there’s going to be someone else out there doing the exact same thing as you, but cheaper. Now that the industrial economy is over, you should forget about doing things just because it’s assigned to you, or “never mind the race to the top, you’ll be racing to the bottom.”
Whether you own the business, push a broom at the business or both -- the world has changed and is demanding that we keep pushing to the top or get out of their way -- because they're going to get there with or without us.
So... looks like it's our time to decide. Innovate or Irrelevant.
- Drew McLellan