One key innovation factor

In Summary

• Do you recognise the emotional forces at play in your environment? 

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People drive innovation. It’s a function of people’s thoughts per time. Hence, in the innovation narrative, there is the people factor. And when a person gets involved in the innovation process, every element of the person comes to play, including their emotions. Truth is: there is an emotional aspect to innovation; that’s why there is one vital factor that addresses this aspect. I’m talking about: emotional intelligence.

This is a key factor in the innovation process. Why? Because innovation is a messy process; also, it involves people and their emotions – and in this case, emotional intelligence is vital. It is how you navigate the complexities involved in making innovation happen. Emotional intelligence is how you manage the rigor and interpersonal challenges that will certainly play out in a team as they pursue a goal.

What is emotional intelligence? The international bestselling authors, Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, said: “Emotional intelligence is your ability to recognise and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships.” This definition begins to paint a clear picture of the subject matter and how important it is to the innovation process. Let’s break it down.

Recognise Emotions: Do you recognise the emotional forces at play in your environment? Your ability to see and recognize the emotions at play in your team members helps you manage the innovation process better. So that if the prevalent emotion is negative, you know that it can hinder the progress of your project and you are able to take steps to stop it before it deflates team morale. And if positive emotions are at play, you recognise it and take advantage of the energy to drive your agenda. 

Understand Emotions: This is your ability to properly interpret the emotions that you identify. One way to effectively understand what people feel is to engage in conversations. Talk to your team members to understand what they feel and how it affects your innovation goals. Remember, in the innovation process, emotions have a role and must be properly managed.

Effective Use of Emotional Awareness: The recognition and understanding of emotions becomes a tool for strategy. You are armed with information and your engagement with your team has produced further understanding of what you know. Now, you know how to coordinate your behavior and manage the emotions of others to help you achieve your goal. Your ability to come up with an effective plan with this knowledge is strategy.

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