Innovators keep their jobs. Companies and organizations need people who are innovators.
Those that innovate push the organization forward. They keep it fresh and growing. Organizations need the new ideas and approaches innovators bring to the table to help them be more efficient and effective.
Employees that play it safe are often the ones that find themselves in the unemployment line when cutbacks occur. In today’s economy it is more important than ever to be an innovator.
The steps anyone can take to start delivering fresh ideas
You may not think of yourself as an innovator, but you can be. It just takes a little practice. It is really simple and easy to do. You start small and work you way up to bigger things. Follow these steps to get yourself started.
1. Carve out an hour or two of quiet time
This may be the hardest part of the whole deal. We are busy. Urgent demands, deadlines, family obligations, and projects fill our days and nights.
However, taking steps to be more innovative may be our only life preserver. We have to make it a priority. We have to say “no” to other things that are less important.
Quiet time is essential to the creative process. You have to give yourself time to think. Ideas will come if they are not crowded out by other noise.
2. Seek inspiration to light your fire
You need kindling and a spark to start a fire. They don’t generally flame up spontaneously. Our minds are the perfect material to fuel the fire. They just need a spark for ignition.
For me, I primarily do two things to light the fire of innovation. I get out in nature by going to a park or other outdoor venue. Second, I read an inspiring book. Something that gets my mind racing. The combination of these two things usually do it for me.
For you, it might be the same or it could be completely different. You might feel inspired when you listen to music or watch certain videos or look at beautiful photos.
You know yourself better than anyone. Use whatever gets your creative juices flowing to ignite your innovation.
3. Jot down whatever comes to you without judging
While you are engaged in this process, you have to give your mind permission to roam. Remember, you are seeking to innovate so the good ideas that come forth are going to seem a little crazy and uncomfortable at first. Let them flow.
Have a notebook and pen handy. Write down your ideas as they spew forth in your mind. Don’t judge them, just get them out.
Some of the initial ones may not really be innovative at all. That’s all right. Sometimes we have to get the clog out of the drain before things can really flow.
As you build your list, it is likely that one of the items you write down is going to catch your attention more than the others. This is the one to focus on.
The feeling about this idea probably won’t be overwhelmingly strong, just a little more so than for the others. Go with it!
4. Take immediate action
Write the one idea that jumps out the most to you down at the top of a clean sheet of paper in your notebook. Now start listing out the steps that you need to take to get your idea off the ground. List as many as you can.
Once you have done this, select a baby step that needs doing. This should be something easy and inexpensive. Something that you can do immediately.
Now do this one baby step as soon as humanly possible. You do not want your momentum to fade.
It is important for you to take action, no matter how small, as soon as you can. Otherwise, you will likely talk yourself out of it later. You’ll come down off your creative high and start questioning the viability of your idea. This will kill it.
Once you’ve taken this first step, it is more likely that you will follow through. At least, this is my experience. Give it a try and see if it works for you.
One innovative idea could save your bacon
It often doesn’t take a lot to stand out from the crowd. Most people are just maintaining the status quo. They are not innovating in the least little bit. Therefore, the door is wide open for you to lead the charge. Now is your time to make a statement and get yourself recognized as someone that is an innovator. It might just save your job!
What process do you use to come up with innovative ideas?
Photo by William Hook