We see the word innovation often, and it’s amazing sometimes what qualifies for innovation as this buzz-word is being bantered about. Those of us who are creative and innovative know our prospects for success are greater than those without such talents and attributes. Perhaps this is why so many people seek to learn how to innovate themselves. It sure looks good on a resume, and most job descriptions do have a phrase or two in them such as; looking for an innovative self-starter. Let’s talk about innovation a little bit and see if you can figure out how to reposition yourself better as someone known to be innovative.
Innovation is Just Combining Observations and Solutions from Other Domains
Many who’ve thought about it long enough realize that most good innovations in any particular sector come from borrowing ideas or portions of ideas from other sectors or domains. Most innovators I know admit that most of their new original thought concepts come to them in this way. If this is the case, then we don’t need to teach innovation at all, rather we just need more polymaths and people with vast arrays of experience in many fields.
Unfortunately, that would mean all the ‘Innovation Gurus’ would be out of work and teaching very few seminars because until their enrolled students had more experiences in more areas of life and work, the seminar attendees wouldn’t be ready to use the methodology taught or have enough knowledge to be a future contender in the top ranks of innovators.
Of course the scary part of this theory of re-combination to create innovation means that it’s pretty easy to teach and if so, anyone can do it, so maybe that’s why everyone is trying to specialize in this “innovation coach” generalist category today. Once someone has experience and knowledge and understands how to use information in one area in another, they can become innovators, at least proficient at the most common type of innovation that is.
If you’ve played sports, you might take some of the strategies and tactics used to win and use something similar in a business situation to better a product or sell a service. Perhaps you had a short stint in a summer job, and realize that some of your observations there could be used at the organization you work or volunteer at now. Maybe you use a utensil in the kitchen that might also be good for doing a task at work, with only a little modification. There’s your chance to innovate. Take it. Think about it, both early and often.