Why You Are Your Company's Best Innovator
It's the word on everyones lips.
Just kidding, that’s two words.
Previously thought to be the realm of our science or engineer friends – innovation is fast becoming everyone’s responsibility. The government is getting in on the act in a big way and if Malcolm Turnbull’s appointment of 25 year old, Wyatt Roy as Assistant Minister for Innovation is anything to go by, they are a calling on Gen Y to lead the show.
If all this talk about the ‘I’ word has left you feeling a bit confused about what it actually means to you and your company, or whether it applies to your role at all, we promise you are not alone.
You may have noticed at Naked HQ we think this focus on Innovation is best thing since Peanut Butter Pop Tarts. We think it presents a huge opportunity for all of us to create something magnificent – whether that’s a product, a program or just changing stale old processes.
So whether your company has announced an innovation strategy, has opened a shiny Innovation Hub or is yet to do anything at all, remember, true innovation is about the people.
So why do we think you are your company’s BEST innovator?
You are where the action is:
While being the CEO would be pretty awesome in terms of power and connections – the chances are you are actually closer to your firms most valued clients than the Big Boss. You are the eyes and ears of your company – and that includes internal stakeholders. The most critical part of a design thinking innovation process is gaining empathy for your user. Stepping into their shoes and trying to see a service, product or an experience from their perspective. So if you are close to your clients and understand their wants, needs, complaints and praises – you have a huge head start. Listen to what they are telling you – what do they want more of and less of? What would make their lives easier? Understanding your clients on a deeper level is step one in creating game-changing innovations.
You are innovating already and you don’t even know it:
Psychologist and Designer at legendary firm IDEO, Jane Fulton Suri, calls them ‘thoughtless acts’. The way we behave in a world not perfectly tailored to our needs. Using a hammer as a doorstop, a pen as a hair-pin or some old training folders as a footrest! Designers use these ‘solutions’ as innovation inspiration and you can do the same. By observing and questioning ingrained systems and processes at your company you can glean some pretty exciting insights into how you can improve them – or throw them out and create something better. Start looking at the patterns all around you and ask yourself - is there a better way to do this?
You are a creative genius (and some of the best resources are at your fingertips)
Everyone is creative. Everyone is innovative. No matter what you’ve been led to believe or told yourself. Your uniqueness gives you a creative perspective that no one else has and being innovative is like a form of fitness – it takes effort and sweat, but every time you practice you get a little bit better.
When it comes to resources, you don’t need to come up with ideas from scratch. Start with tools like Strategizers value proposition canvas or empathy mapping and you’ll start to see obvious gaps between what’s you are doing and what people actually want. Remember innovations don’t have to be huge or complex to be valuable. Think selfie sticks and or folding sunglasses - it’s often the simplest ideas that people flock to and the ones that leave you wondering ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ Never underestimate the power you have to drive innovation at your firm each and every day and remember you don't need anyone's permission to start.