A Formula for Innovation

I like to think of innovation as dreaming big and making those dreams a reality. It requires organizations to think expansively while staying grounded with the realities of business. It also requires organizations (and the people within) to take risks and change the way things are done for the benefit of the future. It is uncomfortable for many to allow themselves to be vulnerable by taking risk and changing the way they operate. For that reason, it is important that organizations create an environment and culture that is conducive for innovation.

Here are 6 elements that organizations need to embrace in order to create a healthy and productive environment for innovation.

Diverse Perspectives

Being innovative requires both understanding perspectives that may not be the same as yours while also having these perspectives push the boundaries of your thinking. Being surrounded with talent and insights from different backgrounds, thinking styles and experiences are critical to shape innovation that is relevant and impactful. Companies need to be deliberate about seeking and integrating insights that may challenge business as usual but advances business of the future.

Creative DNA

Most business environments are comfortable with linear processes and analytic fueled routines. Being able to systematically insert creative thinking into your thinking is essential to inspire innovation. It is important to create some disruption in your process while embracing different ways to solve a problem. Creativity should not be a one-time event and should reside within the talent, capabilities and environment of your organization. Ultimately, the combination of creative thought with analytic insights will yield unique innovative results.

Customer Obsession

Putting the customer at the center of your business is fundamental to the success of innovation. How do they behave? What do they need? What experience do they crave? Innovating within the four walls of your organization without understanding your customer is a sure way to fail. Being deliberate on putting the customer in the center of what you do will unlock differentiated innovation.

Capability To Do

Dreaming is essential for innovation but being able to execute on those dreams is what makes innovation a reality. The Capability To Do is about having the talent, processes, discipline and resources to make innovation come to life. Without robust capability, the desire to innovate will end up in frustration and de-motivate teams to pursue new avenues of growth.

Intense Collaboration

Innovation does not happen in isolation. This requires organizations to be intentional about collaboration. Talented teams fuel creative ideas but without collaboration these ideas will may never be created. Just as critical is having collaborative discipline when it is time to deliver on innovation.

Inspired(ing) Talent

Ultimately, it takes inspiring leaders and inspired teams to make innovation a success. Disrupting the status quo and bringing new value to the world require leaders to have infectious passion that inspire others to follow. Inspired teams will be able to work through the inevitable resistance they will face as they make their innovation a reality.

Innovation requires a healthy environment and culture that embraces these attributes. By being deliberate on how you shape your environment, your organization will be able to produce more effective and sustainable innovation as it dreams big and make those dreams a reality.

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Innovation, brand, and corporate strategist with more than 25 years of experience in corporate, entrepreneurial, and civic roles. @disruptorstudio @atlchamber