What does it mean to be innovative? The term innovation, along with its shopworn adjective, innovative, and its breathless verb, innovate has become every product manager’s rallying cry, every design consultant’s pursuit, and every press release writer’s staple. The word’s been wrapped around everything from the latest i-something to even a new scooter. So how can one term be used to describe such vastly different things? In essence, what does innovation really mean?
Technically, innovation is defined merely as “introducing something new.” There are no qualifiers of how groundbreaking or world-shattering that something needs to be -- only that it needs to be better than what was there before. Innovation can mean different things to different people. What does innovation mean to you?
Every innovative idea begins with a thought, an inspiration. An idea that you can do something that has never been done, improve on something, make a change to something or do it cheaper or better than it has been done before.
Creating a paradigm shift that will add value to the lives of others is considered innovative. This is a unique ability to see the unfolding patterns of the future and recognize the emergence of fresh ways to interpret our surroundings. When the paradigm shift occurs, the new system eliminates old ways of doing things and gives rise to innovative opportunities.
Most ideas come from a desire to fill a need or a gap or expand upon an existing way of doing things. We all have ideas; even if it is simply that your closet isn’t big enough to adequately manage all of your clothing so you have an idea to design a bigger closet. But when does the innovation actually take place?
The innovator takes ACTION on her ideas -- that is what makes the difference. An innovative visionary mind will look at a situation and see future improvements, while most people look at the same situation and only see the present and complain about it!
Successful innovators develop the ability to clearly define and articulate their vision, clearly define their plan for strategic action, and rapidly gain support for their initiatives. They will educate and help others understand their vision and come up with a game plan to make it a reality -- especially to the people who can affect the success of the idea.
The innovator’s view is of the unfamiliar -- which represents change. How do you present a view of the future that only you can envision? Your ability to create a clear presentation of your idea is the tool you use to influence others and enlist critical support.
You can have a good idea -- there are lots of good ideas -- but equally as important is marketing those good ideas. Do you believe strongly enough in your dream to enthusiastically engage others to support your efforts? Taking a good idea and making it into a reality will require massive action!
Peter Drucker said that Innovation is the specific tool of entrepreneurs, the means by which they exploit change as an opportunity for a different business or a different service. Innovation is capable of being presented as a discipline, of being learned and practiced. Entrepreneurs need to search purposefully for their sources of innovation and apply the principles of successful innovation to achieve success.
Make 2015 YOUR YEAR! Be an innovator who designs & live the life of your dreams!
Shelly Aristizabal is the author of This Is Your Year to Design & Live the Life of Your Dreams, a leader in the Community Commerce Industry, Motivational Speaker and New President of Business Women Connect. Visit www.businesswomenconnect.com for details on our upcoming events in the Indianapolis area!