The Act of Innovation

In Summary

• It is important to view innovation beyond ideation

• Ideas are not results

Image: FILE

One goal of this column is to help entrepreneurs and leaders successfully make ideas happen. That is why I take the time to break down the elements that make ideas work. This is important to me because I understand that the innovation process goes beyond words.

It is important to view innovation beyond ideation – thinking up ‘great’ ideas. Successful innovation should produce concrete, tangible and measureable changes. If change does not occur, innovation hasn’t happened.

In my consulting practice, I noticed that innovation efforts fail because of the faulty mindset that it’s simply a mental stimulation process that requires little or no follow through. This thinking makes professionals engage in the innovation rhetoric with little or no results. In this case, these professionals don’t understand some of the principles that govern the innovation process. It helps for you to understand the proper thinking that powers innovation. Here are three simple principles to help your process.

Ideas Are Not Results: You would be shocked to know how many people think that having a great idea equals results. Some people assume that once the great idea is proclaimed, the elements would magically come together and it would happen. So they ‘put it out in the universe’ and expect it to eventually occur. It doesn’t work that way.

The idea in your head is just that: an idea. Nothing more. As an idea, it’s not special. And do understand that when it’s in your head, it is not a great idea. Simply thinking it up is not what validates your idea. It’s only the first step. The idea is not the result. It is yet to play out and you have a vital role in the process.

Doing Completes the Idea Cycle: Please understand that innovation is an act; it’s doing. This means that action completes the innovation cycle. If it’s not done, it’s not innovation. This is important to note because many innovation projects are seldom complete. In this case, ideation is great, but execution is poor. Remember, it’s a great idea when it’s done.

Good Leadership Helps Ideas Succeed: The success of an idea depends on the quality of the people driving it. The quality of thinking of the leadership team is normally the quality of the eventual outcome. Hence, to successfully drive innovation, it’s important to grow your leadership skills. If you are not able to encourage and inspire people to action and sustained effort, innovation is unlikely. Successful innovation is driven by effective leadership.

Email: [email protected]