How to Be Innovative

How to Be Innovative
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The appetite for innovation is big.  It provides a lot of benefits. Companies really want more of it.  But how can they get it? How can they be more innovative? This article looks at how companies, large and small, can be intentional about innovation.  

This is the fourth part of a series of four articles on innovation.  This article, Part 4 in the series, “How to Be Innovative“, looks at how an organization can intentionally be innovative.  Part 1, “What Is Innovation?“ looks at a number of definitions and perspectives on innovation and tries to isolate what innovation really is.   Part 2 in the series, “Where to be Innovative“, identifies that innovation can take place anywhere…but needs to be prioritized.  Part 3 in the series, “Keys to Innovation Success“, looks at the preconditions and critical execution factors for innovation success.

The first question is where to innovate.  Assuming your organization has a handle on at least one area of strategic importance as a focus for innovating, let’s take a look at HOW they can innovate.

It I had to pick one word to describe the process, it would be hyper focus.  I have said in other articles that passion wins the day…and that’s because passion enables the team to hyper focus on an area until they get results.

Ultimately, so much of what we call innovation boils down to working on specific aspects of an organization to make it better – faster, smarter, more efficient, more service oriented, more customer-centric – than the competition, and better than its previous self.  This ‘hands-on’ innovation is brought to life exquisitely by one of my favorites, Jay Abraham, in his Strategy of Preeminence.  

Consistent with the Strategy of Preeminence, innovation first involves changing of mindset…

…to one of greatness, supremacy, distinction, innovative excellence, and plainly being first-rate – to use some terms directly from Jay.  

And it means thinking like a CEO – being empathetic, facing reality, being purpose-driven - and finding a high-growth market, providing a product or service that is uniquely special and superior and hard to replicate, delivering the product or service equally as well, and doing it all profitably.

But I’m going to focus on one thing here:  creating a breakthrough value proposition. I would argue that, if this can be done on a macro basis with a company’s product or service, it can also be done inside the company with the value proposition for every project and program within the organization.

Think of each project and program in terms of its value proposition.  Every one of these already has a purpose. But can you define the product of the project its stakeholders and customers in such clarity that you can play around with breakthrough value propositions?

Take a project, and if you have done a careful plan, revisit the stakeholders and customers.  Also revisit the product of the project – what the project is supposed to produce by the time it’s finished.

Once you’ve done that, can you brainstorm with your team how to do even more for these customers…or more for more customers…or how you can enhance the value of the product of the project?  If you put together the right team and do this relentlessly, I’ll be you can come up with some highly innovative ideas that can be implemented right now.

Now that’s how to innovate!

What is a project and program that is highly strategic in your company?  Who are the stakeholders and customers, and what is the product of the project?  Can you leverage a team to innovate on those two areas?

This Post is Part of the Series: Innovation

This series of four articles teaches about innovation.

  1. What is Innovation?
  2. Where to Be Innovative
  3. Keys to Innovation Success
  4. How to Be Innovative