Innovation is about challenging and improving our thinking. “What most distinguishes highly successful innovators from those who struggle, is their skill at systematically revising their own mental models—at iterating what’s happening inside their heads.” D.Stauffer,
When the word “innovation” is mentioned, most people may think of extraordinary inventions created by outstanding geniuses. However, the majority of business and society innovations today are not created by exceptional geniuses. They are created by people who are focusing on generating ideas in collaboration with customers, partners and employees. The companies that generate innovations thrive on exchange of ideas and regular interactions with customers, employees and other stakeholders. They innovate not necessarily to revolutionize their industry, but to meet specific business goals and enhance a competitive edge.
Possibly, the most important is that innovative companies do not outsource innovation function to a department or agency. For them innovation is a way of life. It is what they do. Innovation is integrated in their business culture and mindset.
As the term “Innovation Mindset” would suggest, innovation is a state of mind, more than intrinsic talent or element of being genius. There are lot of tips and strategies on how to enhance the innovation mindset. My favourite are the following five:
1. Develop constant curiosity
Strive to understand what makes people tick. How their thinking habits work. Innovation is a process, not a destination. You want to create something meaningful that would add value or make an impact, not just innovating for sake of innovation.
Recently a friend from Colombia visited me in London. She is developing her business in selling a special occasion dresses and accessories. I was amazed to see how she was discovering ideas for her emerging business while sightseeing in the central London, exploring the musical styles exhibition or reading the adverts in the underground train. Constant curiosity helps her to discover new and effective ways of communicating to her customers.
2. Challenge your thinking for opportunities and possibilities
Notice and throw away any limiting believes. Choose the thinking pattern of “yes, and…” instead of “yes, but…”. Think bigger every time.
Look for ideas from anywhere. Constantly. Seek for “how could it work” rather than “why it will not work”. Approach the innovation with the belief that anything is possible and you just need to figure out the way how it is possible. Learn from mistakes, find another way and carry on. Steve Jobs in relation has said: “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations”.
3. Be bold and trust your guts
Go to market or society and implement your innovation even if you are not 100% ready. It is quite common to come up with new ideas and become obsessed with them or focus on making the outcomes perfect. Don’t spend huge amounts of time to perfectionize – be bold, get it out there and seek for feedback to improve. Learn to fail and learn from the feedback and your mistakes. As well as you learn from your achievements.
To ignite innovation, fuel the inspiration from within. Trust your guts and what intuition tells you. Push your thinking boundaries. Create explosive reactions. “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got”, Albert Einstein.
4. Welcome diversity
Learn from people who are different, who have come from different cultures, environments, development, thinking habits. Learn from the way how they think and how they look for solutions. Donald Fan in his article “Proof That Diversity Drives Innovation” mentions: “Research confirms that diversity is a valuable resource for innovation. Prof. Ron Burt of the University of Chicago conducted an empirical study indicating that people with more diverse sources of information generate consistently better ideas”. I am noticing that in my diverse global team every week – how different and effective solutions we can generate welcoming opinions and ideas of people from different countries.
5. Take action to add value
Is it innovating for profitable growth, customer engagement, business sustainability and agility, productivity, greater service or any other purpose – take an action to implement it, communicate your added value and strive to hear how it works. Execution is part of innovation.
Adding value, making life easier or more enjoyable is part of innovation. I recently participated in the leadership team meeting where our customer Heijmans shared how their company innovates with their customers. It was example about designing and constructing smart highways. “Smart Highway is the result of an intensive collaboration between builder and developer Heijmans and designer Daan Roosegaarde. The themes sustainability, safety and perception are key to the concept and are manifested in the newest technologies in energy and light”, www.smarthighways.org . The architect had an inspirational idea to make smart highways. He kept communicating and sharing this inspiration until one city mayor in Netherlands gave this idea a try in his governed city. This teaches me – persistence guides to success.
This leads to a summary conclusion – persistence does guide to a success. If you have an idea of innovation that will add value, take an action and keep you persistence alert. It shall lead to success sooner or later.
There are so many different definitions of leadership. As example – the Oxford dictionary defines leadership as „The action of leading a group of people or an organization, or the ability to do this.”
In Wikipedia “leadership has been described as “a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”. For example, some understand a leader simply as somebody whom people follow, or as somebody who guides or directs others while others define leadership as “organizing a group of people to achieve a common goal”.”
Daniel Goleman defines Leadership as “Executing a vision by motivating, guiding, inspiring, listening, persuading and creating resonance”
I am confident that leadership starts from within. It starts with your own leadership mindset. Leadership mindset is seing opportunities, taking ownership of solutions and inspiring yourself and people around you to take an action towards achieving aspirable goals that lead to acomplishing purpose and striving towards vision. Leadership mindset initiates in your thinking habits, in your believes and ability to take accountability for solutions and actions.
You can only motivate, guide, inspire and influence others to accomplish something if you can influence yourself to accomplish what is meaningful for you and people around. If you can motivate, inspire, persuade yourself to do something inspirational and meaningful day in, day out.
To do that, you need a Leadership Mindset, that is build by the following:
- Strong Self Awareness.
Awareness of your values, talents, strengths and weaknesses. Awareness of your passion. Listening to your heart and what is important to you. Taking time to think and reflect. Be cristal clear on what is meaningful for you and what do you want in life.
- Vision and different perspective to strive for it
Vision is the ability to see things as they could be instead of as they are now. Every product, every business, every scientific discovery that exists today was at some time in history “impossible.” It took someone with a different perspective to see, believe and create it. Leadership mindset is incouraged by innovation and different perspective.
- Passion, inspiration and commitment
Passion is the force which turns ideas into action, and dreams into reality. With your enthusiasm, passion and commitment you thrive to achieve your vision. What ideas inspire you? What are you doing to implement them? How excited you are doing it? How do you keep your commitment and energy levels to achieve result? How do you engage people round you to contribute and drive it forward?
- Courage to take risks
Some people have great aspirations, but fear of being wrong stops them from taking action and commiting to achieve the outcomes, so they don’t act on their ideas. Having great aspirations is not enough. You must take risks to succeed. Have a courage to admit your mistakes and learn from them. Learn to improve constantly. Make clear decisions on improvement and take further action.
- Measure results and go beyond
Take time to reflect – How is this working? How am I doing? What have I learned? How have I inspired and enthused others for leadership mindset? How have I communicated clearly to engage people around me? It starts with the leadership from within, but it shall go beyond. It shall go beyond your mindset and inspire others for developing leadership mindset. To enthuse and passionate people around you to live even more inspirational and fulfilled life and share it forward.
In conclusion – there are many different definitions of leadership. I am confident that leadership starts from within – with your leadership mindset.
I believe coaching is enabling individuals and teams to realise their fullest potential for success. That is my experience with coaching – both being coached myself and coaching my coaching clients.
My experience is that through focused coaching individuals or teams are empowered to make an impact for achieving great results that hugely inspires them for further success, collaboration and winning culture. I trust that finding your passion, focusing on what’s important to achieve your aspiration, makes a powerful impact in gaining the highest achievements.
I truly believe that having success mindset is one of the keys to empowering, inspiring and satisfying life. And coaching is a great opportunity to obtain, develop or strengthen your success mindset. You will be amazed what you can achieve having coaching sessions with a coach that empowers your confidence, facilitates you to define your goals and focus on achieving them.
And what do I do to contribute – I empower people to succeed. I do it through coaching people to develop their self awareness, build their leadership or personal brand, facilitating them to find their passion, focus on their goals and make an impact that is meaningful for them. That inspires me and empowers for further achievements. That adds fuel to my success mindset engine. So that I can drive my life roads with passion and inspiration to share it forward. Empower for success.