You may be thinking:
Oh no — not another translucent blog about innovation.
I don't think I even know what that word means anymore.
It's always cornered by equally lofty buzzwords like digital transformation and artificial intelligence.
And you'd be right.
The word has become so diluted and commoditized that it almost holds no meaning.
Innovation is now a tasty accent on a project proposal or a term that sprouts in the land of contracts and deals.
But it's much more than just a fancy word. It's a cardinal virtue that reflects company culture.
We talk to visionaries everyday during feedback calls and they usually say the same thing:
"We've got a lot of knowledge and experience but don't know how to use it."
This typically translates to we have a bunch of random trends and project artifacts but they're too trapped and scattered to do anything with.
And you can't innovate if innovation is only a word. It must hold weight and catalyze action. And that requires a systematic approach and company-wide definition of what it is and how you plan to pursue it.
So we decided to dig up five of our favorite quotes that speak to the heart of in·no·va·tion | \ ˌi-nə-ˈvā-shən \
Definition of innovation
1: a new idea, method, or device : NOVELTY
2: the introduction of something new
- "History is filled with brilliant people who wanted to fix things and just made them worse" ― Chuck Palahniuk
What's your why? Innovating just because it's something to do makes your pursuit no more conscious than the bees that make honey or dogs that fetch sticks. Innovation should always be about creating something bigger than yourself.
- "Dreamers are mocked as impractical. The truth is they are the most practical, as their innovations lead to progress and a better way of life for all of us." ― Robin Sharma
Let your mind wander. Dream up a new world — a better one. It's not against the rules. In fact, it's a prerequisite for any good innovation.
- “Progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things.”
― Robert A. Heinlein
Is there a better way to do this? Start there. The vision doesn't have to be fully fleshed out. It begins as an observation that grows into a hypothesis and eventually, a solution.
- “Innovation is saying "no" to 1,000 things.”
― Steve Jobs
Life is short. And you won't innovate in every industry (unless your Elon Musk). So choose your pursuits wisely and become comfortable saying no.
- “It isn't all over; everything has not been invented; the human adventure is just beginning.” ― Gene Roddenberry
Lastly, get excited; get pumped. No matter what it is you do for a living, there's always an opportunity to innovate. Look around you. Ask questions. Notice problems. Offer solutions. This really isn't rocket science. It's a willingness to open your eyes a little wider than most to see what others don't. As the late Steve Jobs said:
- "The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it."
Like a couch potato who watches motivational videos but doesn't go to the gym or a talented musician who listens to music but rarely plays, these quotes aren't going to do it for you. They may inspire but they won't take action. That's up to you.
So instead of talking about innovation and using the term to impress others, let's start to cultivate it in the way we approach our day to day.
This is how we help ordinary people become extraordinary innovators.