The term innovation can seem intimidating. In fact, you might even have a mental block about it. ‘It’s what big companies with unlimited resources do…’ or ‘…It’s what small agile companies without bureaucracy do…’ or ‘it’s what senior executives do.’ Not me, not us. It can even seem scary or risky. What if the idea gets shut down or perhaps worse, is approved and then fails?
But no matter who you are innovation is crucial to your company, to your department, and in your particular role. Bring innovation to your work with these four ways to create change:
Innovation doesn’t need to be an overwhelming task. Start off by changing one small thing. Then change another. A miniscule change that seems hardly worth your time has a way of creating momentum that eventually produces results far greater.
This one is easy. What have you complained about in the past month? What has frustrated you this week? What stands in the way of you doing your job better, easier, or faster? Look around you and make a list of what is not working right now. Don’t feel the need to produce a solution immediately—or ever. Just make the list, keep it handy, and come back to it later. You will likely find this simple act will get the ball rolling in the right direction and new ideas will emerge when you least expect.
Imitation might seem, at first, the antithesis of innovation. Not so. There is no need to reinvent the wheel and there are plenty of wheels out there. Step outside of your industry, vocation, or function and learn about what others are doing elsewhere. As a bonus, the mindset of imitation produces immediate action while innovation can cause a delay.
Perhaps you really can’t think of anything to improve, any problem to solve, or anywhere to start. It’s not likely, but it happens. Unfortunately, it tends to happen to us more often as we move higher up in the organization and when we are farther removed from the little things. But I’d be willing to bet that others around you have suggestions and opinions. This is true especially when they are free from the responsibility of following through. Create an environment that fosters this kind of discussion, jump in, and take good notes!