Ahead of the Curve, Strategies for Success: How to make Innovation simple

3 min read · 6 years ago


In the face of today’s
fast-moving, highly-volatile business world and the ongoing disruptions it
brings, many business and individuals continue to struggle with the concept of
innovation. But according to leading experts (and Merriam Webster’s
dictionary), innovation is far simpler than you may suspect: By definition,
it’s just the introduction of something new. But innovating is often far
easier said than done: If it were simple, everyone would be doing it, naturally.

Ongoing research shows that, when it comes to innovation, the stumbling
blocks both businesses and individuals most commonly encounter aren’t typically
related to motivation: we seldom see a lack of enthusiasm or ability from
enterprises or working professionals. More often, the biggest challenge that
we see time and again in our consulting practice is an unwillingness to press
forward when a number of common concerns are confronted. Recognize any of the
statements on this list? Chances are, you’re not the only one who may be
telling yourself you’re facing similar challenges:

Change is too
expensive or time-consuming

Others won’t listen
to our ideas

We can’t get the
resources and support we need

Nobody will act on
our insights or suggestions

It’s safer to do the
same thing than to try something different

Here’s the thing, though: As
scores of interviews with leading experts and innovators reveal, these are just
assumptions. Countless leaders in every field are facing the same problems, and
countless leaders are succeeding despite the incessant disruption happening all
around them. As many of today’s most successful businesses have discovered, the
organizations that win with innovation don’t let these challenges become excuses.
Instead, they make better assumptions:

Assume anything can

Assume you have the
power to innovate

Assume you are

Assume you will
figure it out

Assume it may take a
few tries, whether others like it or not

These market leaders know that
change will happen, whether they accept it or not, and the trick to getting
ahead is to keep pushing forward, to keep taking smart risks, and – most
importantly – to keep taking action. You can prepare yourself to surf the great
tidal waves of change that are inevitably headed your way, or let them crash
over your head and carry you along.

Doing nothing is not how people
get ahead in organizations, and this is not how organizations develop a
competitive advantage in the marketplace. New products, processes and
opportunities don’t invent themselves. They’re created through decisive
action—action that’s difficult, if not impossible, to take for those who are
hesitant to change.

Of course, even in the face of
impending changes, not doing things differently may seem like a safe bet,
especially the more successful we are – why fix things if they’re not broken?
But if you’re sitting still as the market and competitive landscape constantly
changes around you, you’re still playing the odds, and run an even greater risk
of being left behind. Whatever choice we make, recognize that we are always
gambling. You might as well know what you’re betting on.

To succeed you’ve got to adopt a
different mindset: One where challenges and constraints are simply problems to
be solved. To get ahead, start thinking ahead – then consistently innovate and
make the changes your enterprise needs to be in position today with the
capabilities, resources and solutions required to be successful tomorrow.
Innovation isn’t a one-time activity: It’s an ongoing series of learning
experiences and course-corrections, and a practice we must pursue on a constant

Here’s the good news: You
don’t have to have a formal leadership role to continually drive positive
change throughout your enterprise. In fact, the only qualification it takes to
lead today is the ability to solve problems and create results. So promote yourself to the role of Chief Innovation Officer in
your career and enterprise today. You may be surprised at just how much of a
difference this simple shift in mindset makes in your ability to create new products, services and solutions, or
plough past any stumbling block.

Award-winning professional speaker Scott Steinberg
is a bestselling expert on leadership and innovation, and the author of
Make Change Work
for You: 10 Ways to Future-Proof Yourself, Fearlessly Innovate, and Succeed
Despite Uncertainty
. Among today’s leading providers of keynote speeches, workshops
and seminars for Fortune 500 firms
his website is www.AKeynoteSpeaker.com.

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