Innovation. It's the heartbeat of today's economy. It's also where you as a CRE professional need to focus your attention, time and resources to compete in today's marketplace.
Do you believe that innovation is a talent that you are born with? Well, we've got good news! We can all learn to be more innovative and creative. As we learned in last week's webinar with Jeff Hurt, we can change our behaviors and adopt critical innovative strategies. Regardless of how innovative you think you are (or aren't), you can learn, practice, and become practiced at, innovation.
How? Innovators think and act differently.
Whether they are companies like Google, Zappo's, Amazon, or individuals like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Ben Franklin, Richard Branson - just to name a few - all great innovators share some commonalities.
They don't let traditional rules and the status quo stand in the way of their vision.
Four Behaviors that Drive Innovation
1. Question Everything!
Great innovators have a passion for inquiry. Curiosity helps us gain understanding and empathy. Questions like "What is?", "What if?", "What caused this to happen?" and "Why?". "Why not?". If you've ever spent time with a young child, you know their favorite word is "why". They are innovating, asking, learning and developing.
It's your turn now. What can you do to encourage more questioning? In your work, in your life, in your relationships?
2. Observe Everything!
Observe your customers, internally and externally. Observe processes, your's and those going on around you. Watch for workarounds. What can be done differently? More efficiently?
Look for surprises, for people acting in unexpected ways and again, question: Why did they do that?
Observe with all of your senses: Listen, look, touch, smell and taste. How can you observe your customers and coworkers more? What can you learn from them?
Link ideas in your area to ideas in other "sandboxes". Work with people outside of your department, your industry, your normal circle. Connect the dots.
Typically, networking is used as a way to gain resources, further a career, even start a new career. We tend to target people like us and/or people with resources, influence and power authority. What if we networked for concepts? Ideas, knowledge and new perspectives? Innovators target people who are different than they are, people playing in different "sandboxes", experts and even non-experts with different backgrounds and perspectives. Open your windows, step outside of your neighborhood and begin to create idea networks. Look for diversity and innovation and you WILL find it.
How can you encourage idea networking in your company and for your team?
The three previous behaviors, Questioning, Observing and Networking all provide information about past and present. Experimenting provides data about the future.
Try new experiences. Cross borders, walk on the other side of the street, take a different route to work, park in a different spot. Try new foods. Develop new skills.
Deconstruct processes, services and products. Examine ideas.
Test new theories, pilot a project, launch a new initiative. Take small risks.
Which of these behaviors do you need to work on? What will you do first? Share your experiences in the comments.
Whether you are practicing one of these behaviors or all of them, we can all improve our innovation skills. Learn more about innovation and how to put it to work for you during our new Learning Labs at the CoreNet Global Orlando Summit. Time is running out - register today!