The Most Important Skills to Help You Innovate (That Every Business Needs)
by Catherine Newton, Head of Strategic Partnerships
Of all the buzz words in today’s business, innovation holds centre stage. Innovation as described by Webster’s dictionary: noun, in·no·va·tion—is the introduction of something new; a new idea, method, or device.
What Websters doesn’t tell you is that innovation is crucial to the continuing success of any business or organisation. Peter Drucker, marketing guru, says that business has only two functions – marketing and innovation.
We would do well to understand and explore the topic of innovation as business owners and leaders in our field.
Here are seven steps to take to get yourself prepared for innovation:
Be A Curious Questioner – Asking “Why” and “Why not” can help turbo charge your discovery skills. The magic question is “What would happen if we did this?” Then if it feels right, or even if it scares you a little, give it a go.
Be Ok With Taking Risks – Taking risks may lead to failures, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of. You may not get it right, but failing should actually be a cost of doing business. The more risks you take the more likely you are to create new ways of doing business!
See Things Differently – You may have just failed at something but when you’re able to apply the same idea to a different problem, you are applying persistence. Be open to these perspectives, and give yourself time to see things differently.
Allow Time To Dream – The most innovative ideas DON’T happen at the office or your desk. Quite the contrary. They happen when you are relaxed, enjoying yourself and not even thinking about solving problems. It’s a well-known fact that when you step away from your desk, and ‘plan’ for times when you’re allowed to be creative, your thinking expands.
Keep Experimenting – To innovate you have to experiment; have experiences that broaden your view. Take a flight, try a new language, take up knitting, go diving. Do the things that make your world like one big lab and in the process open up your mind to what works and what doesn’t in your industry. Never stop experimenting.
Be Resilient – Get used to being told no, to things not working out the way you expected them to, and having to reinvent ways of doing things along your journey to innovate. It’s a mental muscle that can be strengthened.. “We’ve got this;” say this many times over to yourself!
Network Like a Champion – The more you surround yourself with other people and their perspectives the better. Talking to people about what you’re working on, on your big (or not so big!) idea, on your problems and challenges, can lead to a great source of ideas. Identify the types of people you want to surround yourself with and seek out the industry events they are at and go there.
“There’s no good idea that cannot be improved on.” – Michael Eisner
Of all of these patterns of innovative action, I see the most important skill of all to practice is questioning. What better questions can you ask today to help you think differently?
Try spending 15 to 30 minutes each month writing down 10 new questions that challenge the way you are showing up in your business or career. Find your authentic voice in the process, getting out of your comfort zone, collaborating, and finding ways to solve problems. Don’t wait for perfection.
You can start now by asking yourself, how would taking our free business check-up help me think differently and build a better business? Take the quiz now and let’s find out!