I have a sign posted in my office with those words. That’s my daily mission, on behalf of my customers.
How do you bring innovation into your own daily activities?
When I ask this question, everyone always gives themselves high marks. They don’t want their colleagues to regard them as slugs.
Innovation is a new idea, product, method. We’ve all had a great idea. How many of us chose to introduce it into our corporate culture and professional discipline?
I’ve just made innovation sound like the hero’s tale. (Think Lord of the Rings). That misperception puts the damper on far too many folks who are true innovators.
Everyone can be innovative. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist.
One of the first invitations of “how to” be innovative I create is: think how you can be 10% more efficient in your job. For example, how does your professional efficiency translate into a cost savings for your company?
The light bulbs start to go on. Everyone gives themselves permission to be innovative.
A second invitation: take your blinders off. Open up your curiosity playbook and start taking notes.
Locate where your innate sense of curiosity has gone over the years. Where, in your brain, did you misplace it? Curiosity involves investigation, exploration, research and learning. You may not have enjoyed being educated by others. Don’t let your experience with educational systems kill your sense of curiosity and wonder. Otherwise we’d all still be living in trees.
Ponder this: how are things manufactured or served up to customers in your workplace? How many other departments touch your work as it is designed, implemented and delivered to end-users?
Discover information resources to feed your growing curiosity. Move beyond 140 characters, reality shows and infographics. Seek out source material. Learn how to enjoying learning once again.
You can’t be innovative if you don’t give in to your sense of curiosity and wonder. Go seek answers to what you don’t know.
A third invitation: be assumptive.
Let’s not confuse being assumptive with being presumptuous. Being presumptuous is a form of know-it-all arrogance. You and know lots of folks out there who are presumptuous. We work with them. They build walls between themselves and others: no one can teach them anything new.
Being assumptive takes the information you are acquiring by being curious and adds it all up. It’s your knowledge base. Your assumptions make you self-confident instead of arrogant.
Being assumptive allows you to collaborate with colleagues and customers. Being assumptive permits you make statements like: based on my observations and research, I see this situation in this manner.
Depending on where we sit around the business table, we all “see” the same things, differently.
When you bring your curiosity and assumptions to the collaborative business table, you combine them with your colleagues’ insights. You all are innovative.
Being innovative can mean nothing more profound that everyone working together to implement a 10% increase in their own professional efficiency. Taken across the board, what profound impact does this seemingly small change in perspective have on profitability and competitiveness?
You are more innovative than you gave yourself credit for. Continue the journey we have started here.
Be Curious. Be Assumptive. Be Innovative.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, catalyzes business transition, startup growth, and professional development. She works with non-traditional sellers like engineers, manufacturers, and technical startups to create sustainable business models and revenue strategies. To learn more about collaboration strategies, download a free chapter of her book: Do YOU Mean Business?