Let’s imagine a newbie in innovation, who has been newly appointed to lead the innovation department with little to no background or experience in innovation. Or someone who wants to do innovation at their small business. Do these descriptions match you in any way? These are the top five mindset changes you have to do before going to google and type “what is innovation” or “how to manage innovation in a company.” And if this leaves you with questions, you can ask me.
TIP ONE: INNOVATION IS BRINGING A NEW VALUE TO OUR SOCIETY
In everything you do, you should focus on the one true goal of innovation: creating value for people – because if people are not using the new product or new service then we are not talking about innovation.
To sum up: Innovation is generating value through creativity.
Pro tip: Also, allocate budget to bringing to the market after the idea, not only for implementation.
TIP TWO: INNOVATION IS WORKING TOGETHER
Collaboration is key when it comes to being innovative for one simple reason: Innovation cannot be done brainstorming or working alone inside a closed door room.
To sum up: Working together with different teams, start-ups, academics, employees, suppliers, corporates and SMEs is key.
Pro tip: Multidisciplinary teams are best to concept, design, test and implement. For instance, philosophers are good to ask questions about the future, engineers are good to find technical solutions, designers are good to make it nice and marketers are good to create a story telling. We need them all from the beginning.
TIP THREE: INNOVATION CULTURE IS BOTTOM-UP AND TOP-TO-BOTTOM
Participation in innovation and driving innovation can be driven or initiated from any part of a company. The vision of the senior management team is very important, but the revolution is needed from the employees to make it happen. Innovation is not a password, it has to be part of the way of thinking of the company strategy and operations on a daily basis. And this is hard.
Sum up: All shout participate! Including board, C-level, management, teams, support functions, assistants, partners, suppliers, customers and employees in general should participate.
Pro tip: Innovation has to be embedded into the company values and strategy, and translate it into the daily operations from department directors. And of course, it has to be well communicated.
TIP FOUR: INNOVATION AS A CO-CREATION WITH THE FINAL USER OF THE INNOVATION
Involving the user early on has a lot of advantages. In the end, it is the final user who will use the new product or new service. Not yourself.
It’s very simple, go and observe what the person who will be impacted by your new product or new service is doing right now, what he/she thinks, what he/she is doing, what are the issues… and get her or him/her on board to design, conceptualize, test, implement, re-design, etc.
Pro tip: At least, it is required to have 5 to 10 final users working with you.
TIP FIVE: INNOVATION IS NOT ABOUT SCIENCE FICTION, IT’S REALITY WITH IMAGINATION
Innovation is often imagined as radical, highly futuristic work. But that is not typically its scope! Because thinking of flying cars is not innovation, innovation is bringing value to your customer. If we want to be successful, think of your customer or the person who will use the new product or new service. Innovation is bringing value to the society and our planet, the future is about value and sustainability.
Pro tip: Think based on reality, how to bring value, how to solve issues with reality as a perspective, but of course be creative and use imagination to solve the problems and to bring value.
These five points are the basics to start with creating an innovation mindset. Innovation is a deeply rooted journey and not a destination, like life itself. It’s a way of doing things, a way of living life, and applicable in every step of our companies. And the most important, we do innovation when we bring value to the society with passion and creativity, at any kind of value, with any kind of creativity.
This article was published on 30th May 2019 inside the BASE Conference book.
Photo by Nikita Kachanovsky on Unsplash.