If you pay attention to any content outlet, whether it be via television or website, you will hear or see the continual discussion of constant innovation. Understandably, when you have the Google’s and Apple’s of the world heavily driving this with new products and services every few months or so, it is easy for people to get in the rat race to believe they have to do the same thing.
My personal opinion on it is you do not. Innovation has easily become a buzzword for today’s business and if you ask a handful of people what it means, you are more than likely to get a handful of different answers. Why? Because it means something different to each person. It is the business world by which they try to shape what innovation should look like; meaning, you have to continuously come up with the next best product or service to beat the competition.
While I agree the marketplace is a heavy influencer that drives businesses to develop new products and services, I feel it has come to a point by which to get these new products and services that innovation creation has become viewed as a defined, tangible process. A process where you can insert this or takeaway this and get something brilliant. Until we have machines coming up with new ideas, a manufactured process does not drive innovation. In fact if you think it does, the likely outcome is complacency.
To get away from driving complacency and understanding how to drive meaningful, engaging work from employees, we can no longer try to innovate employees. Instead, inspiration, creativity, excitement, and difference have to be the norm. To get to this point, it is a two way street – the environment and culture have to influence inspiration and creativity and provide opportunities for such, while the employee has to be open and seek out and engage in those opportunities both at work and outside of work.
For instance, two weeks ago I wrote a post about being complacent. I was in a spot where I just wasn’t motivated to really move the needle. I put pen to paper and came up with some ideas to reenergize myself and my work. And I will tell you what has worked for me better than anything, is allowing more opportunities to be creative.
And before you go one with that you are not creative and you don’t paint, draw, sing, whatever, creative can be whatever you want it to be. As I define it for me, it is opening yourself up to new opportunities that you ordinarily do not expose yourself too. For me a lot of times that is music. If you know me, I love a good club remix. Occasionally, I will come across one that gets me energized and thinking in a whole other light. Fortunately, this remix came this past weekend.
Inspiring beats and sounds do wonders for me and can change how I operate on a daily basis both professionally and personally. The remix I referenced this weekend has definitely provided some much clarity for me. Particularly around how I want to move forward with a side project of a business and how what I thought I wanted was not really what I wanted. I have a better direction to lead and develop it now.
So, if you find yourself in a fog and not moving in the direction you want, don’t innovate! Instead, remix the situation and discover different solutions. To get the ball started, incorporate creativity exercises into your everyday life. Here is a hint to get started with that: go to Amazon and explore design, visual thinking, and creativity books. Many of these offer exercises to get that part of your mind kicking again.