Innovation is key to every company and business. Exactly what role innovation should play in your business or career is up to you, but there are certain truths about innovation that you need to keep in mind:
- You need insights to get ideas. That is, you need the sort of insights prompted from negative feedback in order to get the new sorts of ideas that lead to game-changing innovation.
- Highly structured organization with strict managements are not conducive to employee innovation. If you want innovation help from your employees, your management needs to be hands-off enough that the employees have room to think and innovate freely.
- Doing the same thing cheaper than everyone else is not enough – you need to innovate, too. Doing it cheaper will work in the short term, but eventually new forces will enter the market, so innovation is the key to surviving in the long run.
- To innovate well, you need to break the rules. Since innovation requires thinking outside the box, sometimes you’ll need to break rules to innovate well. That also means that the people in your workplace who just can’t seem to follow the rules may be the very people you should look to for innovation.
- Innovation requires a passion for solving, not just a passion for a particular solution. In other words, when you innovate you need to be flexible. Your initial idea will probably not be the ultimate solution; there are likely to be many steps and alterations along the way.
- Management usually will not say yes to innovation unless they believe it outweighs the cost of inaction. That means that in addition to selling your supervisor on your idea, you also have to sell him or her on the idea that not implementing your idea will have costly long-term ramifications.
- Customers are the best support for innovative ideas. If you are trying to convince management about the value of an idea, nothing will persuade them more than evidence that customers support the idea. Customer support means a better bottom line.
- Less creative ideas have a better chance of being implemented. That doesn’t necessarily mean that less creative ideas are better. However, when you’re pitching a new idea, you should be aware that management is more likely to implement it if they see it as being more like their current approaches. Sometimes, a vast shake-up is necessary, but sometimes the best way to move to a big shake-up is in small steps.
Further reading / recommended book:
(Image is from here.)