2014: Your Most Innovative Year?

2014: Your Most Innovative Year?One month into the new year; it’s already going by very quickly. Has 2014 been good so far? Is it following the plans that you set out? Are the changes you determined to make this year happening? As you know, a change is only becomes real when you take action on that change.

“A change that makes a positive impact” is a pretty good definition of innovation. Innovation is all about change for the better.

So with the link to innovation made, how can you increase the chances of having a “most innovative year?” Here’s some ways that can help you and your organisation be brilliantly innovative.

1. Have More Pride
Every organisation exists to serve customers or clients, whether they pay for it or not. And we know things could be done better, but it is just too hard to change. Well is it? Nobody is saying it is easy, but surely you could bring some improvement somewhere? It is a sure sign of a lack of care if you don’t try to make things better.

When you care about how you are perceived, you begin to act differently; you care. If you can’t take pride in what you do, then you have a great opportunity to find something where you can do something that “will make you feel proud.” (Thanks Heather Small!)

2. Set Challenging Challenges
So things are pretty good, customers are happy, bosses are happy – great stuff. However, you know it is not perfect, and you want it to improve without making people feel battered. Set a challenge to your team. Urge them to be the best, or if they are the best, to be the best ever!

I heard about a senior IT exec who set a challenge to his region to cut the time it took to do tasks by 50% (and they were pretty lean already). His people rose to the challenge and managed to reduce the time tasks took, and overall, they saved 20% of time. They didn’t hit the challenge target, but by aiming high, the department was able to realise some serious benefit that was thought to be out of reach. Oh, and it was seriously celebrated!

3. Share the Tough Targets
A new year means new objectives. And as hard as you negotiated, you still ended up with that target that is nigh on impossible to achieve with current resources and budget. Do you ignore it and hope everyone forgets about it? My suggestion is to share the impossible objective and seek creative solutions from those doing the role. They will have the answer, your job is to listen to them, find it and then make it happen. Crowdsourcing works when people understand the challenge, know that it matters and believe they can make the difference.

Take action image

4. Be the Change-Maker
Too often, we can focus too much on the current. We ignore the future, hoping that someone else has that one covered. And then guess what, we never saw the change coming until it was too late. So this coming year, determine to be the “change-maker”. Instead of it being done unto you, you make the change happen. Even if you can’t do this, at least look up and see what’s coming. Set some time aside each week to find out what’s happening out there.

5. “Make It So”
Finally, instead of just thinking or talking about doing something different next year, turn it into action. As Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise would say, “make it so.”

What would it take for 2014 to be your most innovative year?

image credit: adespresso.com

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Being Innovative - the role of the leaderHarvey Wade is Director, Innovation Strategy at Mindjet providing strategic direction and support to their key clients. Prior to Mindjet, Harvey was the Innovation Manager at Allianz Insurance (UK). His blog is Innovative Thoughts

Harvey Wade




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  1. Chris Kalaboukis on January 27, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Of course, 2014 will be my most innovative year – don’t we all always try to top our previous years innovations? Although I am making one interesting distinction this year – I’ve positioned some of the services we provide away from “innovation” towards “new product development” – I think that in some cases, the word “innovation” connotes ideation in areas that are too forward thinking or not enough “business core” for some firms. I’m finding that that re-positioning does have some legs, and I’m seeing more interest. It’s funny – being the in the innovation business – we always feel an affinity towards innovation and invention, whereas its a threat to others…

    • Harvey Wade on January 27, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      Chris, that’s an interesting insight. I am often finding myself saying “collaborative problem solving”. Innovation does bring much baggage for people. Thanks for sharing!

    • Joe Savalle on February 4, 2014 at 8:36 am

      Chris you are spot on! If there is one thing i have learned being a lead in innovation folk is that we have to be the most flexible! Not in a compromising way at all (keep the ideation flowing), but in the packaging, delivery and threat reduction it poses to others.

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