Strategies that have been adopted within firms for fostering of innovation mindsets, and corresponding innovation activities probably are as many as sand on the beach.
Once upon a time, innovation circles were popular. But then, rather counter factually, it was discovered they hindered innovation. Turned out, having people validating others’ ideas — ideas not yet having prototypes, ideas whose rejection posed no costs to the innovation circle — stifled innovation. A strategy that was supposed to be an aid to innovation turned out the contrary, turned out a hindrance. Yours, truly humbly could have told them it would not work.
If regardless of expertise or knowledge, innovative ideas are obvious to everyone in an innovation circle, this with circle members from different functions within a company, can agreement on innovativeness of an idea really connote meaningful innovation?
No matter what anyone says, there is mystique to innovation. First, absent development of the capacity for observation and soliloquy, development of an innovation mindset likely is impossible. A person who does not observe, and who does not mull over observations for arrival at some inference does not have capacity for development of an innovation mindset. What exactly do you think Galileo was doing in the bathtub when he shouted, “Eureka?” You bet he was mulling over his observations. If you cannot feel normal discussing your observations with yourself, you are not yet prepared for development of an innovation mindset.
While we remain on the topic, note development of an innovation mindset does not require any grand objectives for achievement. Quite the contrary. An innovation mindset can be developed in context of handling of little things. If a person possesses capacity for innovation in their work, they typically demonstrate same capacity in other spaces of their lives. If you desire to be innovative, start with application of yourself to thinking through of things you do outside of your job, and the extent to which there appears to be room for improvement. In developing countries, in presence of non-constant water supply, an innovation mindset can be applied to management of water stored in receptacles for minimization of contamination. How exactly to take water out of the receptacles without increasing probability of contamination of remainder water, contamination that could induce water borne diseases? In developed countries, an innovative mindset can be applied to management of recreation, diet, how to make the most of family time, etc. Innovation Mystique Number Two: An innovation mindset remains innovative off the job.
An innovation mindset takes calculated risks on ideas which though plausible, seem far fetched to others. This third mystique is an important rationale for failure of innovation circles — people typically are unwilling to take risks on others’ plausible, yet far fetched ideas. A person who desires to be innovative, but who never has stamina for following through on plausible far fetched ideas never will develop an innovation mindset. Intelligence and brilliance are good for innovating. Without capacity or heart for follow through, for testing out of innovative ideas, development of an innovation mindset is impossible. Innovation Mystique Number Three: Innovators have heart, have capacity for follow through. If an innovative idea is not a good idea, they know why it is not. How do they know? They follow through, find out it would not quite work. Lessons learnt from failed innovations become springboards, safeguards for new innovative ideas.
All said and done, an innovation mindset is a way of life. While firm strategies can help in sense of availability of time that can be devoted to mulling of observations and ideas, and provision of incentives for development of new innovations, innovation mindsets are individual achievements. Innovative firms are innovative because they fill the company with people who have innovation mindsets, then find ways to set them free for focus on development of new innovations.
The reason an innovation mindset is mystique? Average ability plus work ethic, brilliant ability plus work ethic, and willingness to learn plus work ethic all have been associated with development of innovation mindsets. So, yes observation and mulling matter, heart matters, and innovating in the little things matter, yet when all is said and done only two things always are present — capacity for observation and mulling, and good work ethic.
By the way, note I did not say, good job ethic. I said — good work ethic. People who develop innovative mindsets never stop mulling and observing. Mulling and observing is way of life.