Monday, February 28, 2011
Innovation - It Starts From Within
We hear the word thrown around in business all the time. “We’re innovators; Innovation is key to our growth; innovation is what our business is all about.” The list goes on. I wonder how many companies out there have innovation as part of their mission statement, positioning statement or core corporate mantra? My guess is it’s a LOT!
In today’s rapidly changing world, innovation is key to being competitive. Without innovation, companies and their products quickly become relics of the past – the world keeps turning folks and with it a world of change with every spin.
Despite the never-ending need to innovate on the product side and a robust investment in product innovation and research and development, many companies neglect the innovation on the talent side and with it, leaders are hesitant to innovate from the inside out.
Fear of change results in a state of paralysis and again…if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward. Technology, culture, capital, people, and the way they all work together are constantly changing, so if your team isn’t innovating on both a personal and cultural level, you can be assured others are, and in the process, leaving your place in the market, in the dust.
Innovation begins at the personal level - call it your spirit, your heart, your soul or whatever else works for you – but change needs to happen from within before it can be rolled out to a department, an organization, or an industry. And sometimes the most dramatic innovations that positively affect companies aren’t on the product or service side at all, but are aspects addressing the more intangible, such as talent, marketing, process, or culture.
As human beings we must adapt to change – it’s an inherent force of nature – as our environment changes, so must we in order to best thrive in our surroundings. Change isn’t always pleasant, nor is it always a fearless process of flawless execution. Quite often it’s scary, dubious, unsettling and packed full of ‘what-ifs’. But then isn’t that core to all challenges in life? Imagine a life without challenge and without personal growth and innovation…pretty boring stuff.
What all this comes down to is defining innovation and how it fits into your personal world and your company’s culture. Think about innovation differently. Innovate on the very definition of the word and through this process you’ll find personal and professional windows of opportunity for innovation that set you and your company apart from the pack.
Change – it’s a good thing. Well Martha said that until she found herself in a jail cell.