Innovation: “the introduction of something new”
What’s the difference between ideas and innovation? We all have ideas, but are we all innovators (or do we all create innovations)? An idea is simply something you think of, but an innovation is the process of taking that idea and turning it into a product, a service, or something that sees the idea come to life. There’s only one step required to go from an idea to an innovation and that one step is “take action.” For large companies innovations comes in the form of things like the iPad, Xbox, smart watch, headphones and the like.
Innovation has always been a primary challenge of leadership. Today we live in an era of such rapid change and growth that now leaders must work constantly to develop the capacity for continuous change and frequent adaptation; whilst ensuring that identity and values remain constant. They must recognize people’s innate capacity to adapt and co-create to innovate.
But for you and me as individuals, we don’t have to create crazy new technologies — we can, but we don’t have to. For us an innovation can simply be doing something new that we haven’t done before — starting a podcast, launching a new content site, coming up with a cool visual to explain something, writing a book, etc.
In my own work I am always and happily surprised by how impossible it is to extinguish the human spirit. People, who had been given up for dead in their organizations, once conditions change; they feel welcomed back in, find new energy and become great innovators. My questions are how do we acknowledge that everyone is a potential innovator? How can we evoke the innate human need to innovate?
We all have the potential to be innovators in our own way, but we have to take action on the ideas that we have. Thanks to social technologies it’s never been easier to raise money on sites like IndieGoGo or KickStarter. It’s also never been easier for us to find the talent that we need to help us build or create something. No more excuses for why we haven’t done something. We all have access to the same virtual resources and information so the barrier to being innovative has never been lower. The only barrier is actually you!
Go back into your box of ideas, dust them off, and start playing around with turning them into reality. When we think about the future of work it’s all about change, new ideas, experimentation, and challenging convention. There’s a fine line between genius and insanity, and there’s also a fine line between an idea and an innovation. That line has never been easier to cross, so go destroy and jump over that line.
You’re not an “idea guy / girl” — you’re an innovator!
Now, on to work!
This post was inspired by a message from Jacob Morgan