Many companies nowadays aspire to be more innovative, and yet after hours of meetings discussing how innovation should play a larger role in the organization, most of the employees return to their desks and resume business as usual. And, as we all know, 'if you keep doing what you've always done, you'll keep on getting what you've always got.'
Yes, innovation requires a different mindset than the one needed to keep the base business successful. Each and every employee, including you, can have a part in transforming the company into a more innovative place.
So, what can YOU do to help Innovation become a bigger part of your company culture? Here are four innovation behaviors that will help you become an Innovation Champion:
1. Challenge the status quo.
Although the status quo provides comfort, it's not always the best way to accomplish things. Having an innovative mindset means daring to imagine things done differently, better, and trying new ideas and processes. So, next time you're completing a routine task, or you hear your peers say that 'this is the way we've always done it', try to imagine a better way to accomplish the same goal. If you think of something, don't be afraid to try it. This is how great ideas are born.
2. Become an Idea Broadcaster.
In any organization, most ideas are never voiced or shared. And many of the ones that are, end up in dusty corners, old files and forgotten drawers. To make your organization a more innovative and open place, make it your mission to spread ideas ' yours, as well as those of others. Not only will an idea benefit from multiple viewpoints but the more people are exposed to an idea, the harder it is for it to be ignored.
3. Become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Innovation may sound romantic, but in reality it stretches people and puts them outside their comfort zone. That's why most employees rush to lock down the parameters of a task in order to get past the not-so-cozy front end of any project. If you wish to act like an innovator and to champion innovation at your company, the next time you start a project, allow ideas to float around a bit longer before you choose the one you're going to pursue. This way, you'll allow them to reach their full potential.
4. See failure as a learning experience.
At a company that nurtures a culture of innovation, failure is seen as merely a stepping stone to success. So, whenever you encounter failure, instead of hanging your head in shame, make a note of the lessons you've learned. If you believe in an idea, give it a try without allowing the fear of failure to take over. As long as you are a responsible risk taker and always strive for success, a few bumps in the road will only make you a better innovator.
Making Innovation part of a company culture requires creating new habits and adopting a new, more open mindset. While clearly, a company's commitment to change should be led from the top, each and every employee can still change a little something in the way they do their jobs to inject innovation into their company. As with any change, this is not an easy one, and won't happen overnight. But, when everyone does his or her part, a big and lasting change will gradually take place, making your organization a much more open and more fun place to work.
About the Author
Jonathan Finer is a founding partner and Chief Innovation Officer at Cloverleaf Innovation where he brings 25 years of branding, consumer insights and strategic leadership managing major brand creation, brand revitalization and new product/service innovation for some of Cloverleaf's most recognized clients.
Educated in journalism and marketing and driven by a generalist perspective, Jonathan uses creative, strategic and analytic thinking to understand human behavior, connect the dots, unravel mysteries, find patterns, create engaging stories and develop actionable solutions.
Cloverleaf Innovation is in the business of realizing potential ' of ideas, opportunities and most of all, people. Whether innovating brands, products, services or corporate culture, we combine best practices from diverse creative and strategic disciplines to bring fresh, actionable, insightful solutions to our clients' most demanding business challenges. At Cloverleaf, we believe in the tremendous power of people, and that fulfilling this human potential is the catalyst for delivering innovations that matter.