There is massive confusion in the business marketplace concerning innovation. Many people I meet think innovation is being creative. Only a few people understand innovation is actually the successful implementation of an idea.
To successfully implement an idea is usually a long process, however the rewards for the patient and persistent are awesome.
The process begins with turning information into insight. Many people suffer from information overload, the great productivity killer. A few folk are even obsessed with information, and still others spend their lives looking for information, when what we really need is insight.
Yesterday was a typical research day for me. I visited more than 20 websites, read 10 articles in print, and interviewed a business leader in person. To stop myself from being overloaded with the information presented and in order to discover insight, I ask myself these questions:
- What is it about what is being shared that is different from what I know?
- If I was to modify or change my feelings, thoughts or actions around this difference would I be more remarkable?
- What is relevant for my family, friends or clients that could mean they will be more remarkable?
- What is the essence of the information presented and how can I use it to be more remarkable?
The second step along the road to innovation is to turn insight into an idea.
The process I follow is to:
- Write my insights down in my journal
- Let the insights percolate for a while (sometimes a day, sometimes a week, sometimes a month, sometimes even longer)
- Ask myself, "What would need to happen for this insight to make a real difference in the world?"
- Share my feelings and thoughts with trusted friends, family, or colleagues
- Work with others to make the dream come true
The third step along the road to innovation is to stay inspired long enough to successfully implement the idea.
I have been working with some colleagues on one idea for almost two years now. We have had many false starts, many failings; a lot of times when we wanted to give up. We have spent a lot of money, and been frustrated with each other more than once. We have also experienced the excitement of creating something from scratch, the thrill of when what we have created actually works, and the unprecedented joy that comes from seeing someone else implement our idea in their own way.
Insight, idea, inspiration, then innovation. The journey is usually hard work, however, each of us is creative beyond measure, and each of us has the emotional, mental, physical and spiritual capacity to see past the information that threatens to drown us and discover insight, make up an idea, and stay inspired long enough for our idea to be successfully implemented.