People throw this word around in business all the time yet it is taken to
mean so many different things. Traditionally to innovate means to change
things, to come up with something new. In business, innovation usually
refers to the creation of a new product or service or revenue stream but it can
even mean new packaging or a new distribution channel.
It could be a completely new idea or it could just be a new twist on an old idea,
which makes it new again. One thing’s for sure, original ideas have
never been more important.
Never before have we seen such an influx of entrepreneurs creating new
products, new businesses & new ideas that are worth so much money. And
when we say entrepreneurs, we’re not just talking about the traditional
entrepreneurial small business owner or corporate ‘strategist’ creating another
cash cow, we’re talking about the guy in the next room who is quietly going
about his day job with two patents in the pipeline for ideas he believes will one
day transform his working life.
Being an entrepreneur has now become de rigueur.
So how do I become more innovative?
There is no hard & fast research on how some people become more innovative
than others. Traditionally people discount creativity as something “creative
people just have”, as if some of us are just born creative & the rest of us should
just get on with the doing.
We don’t believe this to be true. We believe that anyone can be creative. Sure some people have an intrinsic talent for art or design, some have a natural acumen for math or music, but everyone can learn to think more creatively. Everyone has a little entrepreneurial spark in
them, it just needs to be lit.
We have found that like any other skill, original thought is something that can be taught & it is something that can be practised. Like many of the other functions of the brain that are documented in more detail, the ability to think creatively has as much to do with process as it has to do with talent.
Sure some of the greatest ideas have probably come to people through luck or talent or just ‘being creative’. But we bet a lot have come through hard work too; by creating an environment & process which has helped ‘creative types’ to nurture their creativity & structure their thinking.
So why does it always feel so difficult to be innovative?
Probably because you spend most of your time doing other stuff; so to sit down
one afternoon & just decide that you’d like to think more innovatively is kind of like
just deciding that you’d like to paint a masterpiece without the paints or the
canvas, or even the subject matter. In order to be more innovative you need to
prepare your brain with the tools it needs & you need to garner the stimulus, the
subject matter if you will. Then how you interpret that subject matter will
determine what kind of masterpiece you’ll create.
Why do some people find it so much easier to be innovative?
Some people are naturally more creative but in business, it’s generally because they spend most of their time looking at things differently. The point being, that if you put aside some time each week to concentrate on being more innovative, you’ll find it easier too.