Innovation Insights is a daily post on LinkedIn to help leaders strengthen those all-important innovation muscles over the next 30 days. Below is a summary from week 3.

 

 

The ABCs of Innovation. Confused about “innovation?” Many leaders are and it is not their fault.

Innovation is the word of the day and sadly its overuse has watered-down its meaning.

Keep it simple and think ABC: “Applied Business Creativity.”

Creativity is something we all have.

Business is the context in which most of us are engaged.

Application is putting an idea into action.

So get ideas to improve your business, find the best that will propel you forward, and execute quickly. That’s pretty elementary, right?

Innovation Interference. In a recent webinar, I was asked about common interferences to innovation. There are many, but here are the top three that came to mind…

1)Current success. It takes guts to change when something is still profitable today (but ask Blockbuster how that can work out).

2) Waiting for the perfect time to get organized. There will always be something (a leadership change, a re-org, or sudden change to the business). The most successful will have the discipline to keep at ways to grow and not have excuses for when they will be less busy, which will never happen.

3)Uncertainty that the initiative will pay off. Well that’s the rub, right? If you want to go to higher levels of performance, you can’t be sure you will get there. Leaders need to accept that uncertainty while doing their best to make things happens. That what managerial courage looks like.

Do any of the 3 impact your efforts to improve your organization? What others do you see? Any improvement will have some obstacles. Make a frank assessment of these and take proactive steps to address.

Working to Succeed or to Avoid Failure? Are you doing everything you can to succeed? Leaders should not confuse this with doing everything they can to not fail.

Activities to not fail may include cutting expenses, re-organizations, or “sticking to what you know.”

In addition to hard choices on expenses, doing everything you can to succeed will include things like investing in things that might grow, experimenting with new approaches, getting fresh talent on board to broaden capacity, or be willing to grow as a leader.

Are you Dangerous Enough? Those top companies that you admire and likely invest in (the Teslas, Apples, and Amazons of the world) are Dangerous Innovators.

Nobody in their right mind ignores companies like these.

Dangerous Innovators have an out-sized share of customers, their companies are highly valued, and they have their pick of the very best talent.

Dangerous Innovators did not get where they are today by being conventional, playing small…or by being mildly innovative.

If you want to boost your success, decide to be a stand-out innovator in your space. If you don’t take the innovation lead, someone else WILL…and you can see how that story can end.