Guest Post by Charles Lee
Innovation, in its most foundational form, is the introduction of something new (e.g., a new idea, method, or device).
While there’s some value in defining innovation, it’s far more important to frame one’s perspective and praxis for innovation. Innovation is much more than simply introducing new things and/or ideas. Good innovation actually solves problems for the one(s) receiving its benefit. Here are some thoughts that have helped me frame how I view and approach innovation:
- Innovation changes the current situation into a preferred one. Innovation is not simply the act of adding a new idea on top of previous ones, especially those that created the problems in the first place. Rather, it’s an endeavor to create a new reality that breaks through our current roadblocks to the future that we desire.
- Innovation requires good problem solving and design skills. Good innovators have (1) the ability to identify, clarify, and articulate the real problem and (2) design a practical solution that people actually need. Development of these skills require lots of practice and time.
- Innovation moves beyond creativity to strategy, metrics, implementation, assessment, and on-going refinement. Creative ideas are not enough for innovation. Innovation is not brainstorming nor just talking about new ideas. Innovation, in order to be effective, must attach itself to intentional planning, execution, and continual refinement.
Innovation is hard work. It’s far easier just to talk about ideas that might create the change we desire. Unfortunately, ideas are impotent without action.
The good news is that once you get in the habit of acting upon your ideas, your ability to innovate will quickly improve. Furthermore, you’ll start to see noticeable change in your life, work, and play. (You can thank me later.)