So what is innovation and why is it important?
Management has a reputation for overusing words to a degree that they lose their ordinary meaning, and eventually lose relevance, even for the best intentioned of managers.
Management speak, especially when not genuine, has the capacity to make eyes role and attention switch off, and rather than encourage performance can act as a disincentive.
Innovation is a word that is used frequently, and it is the overuse of the word that blurs the importance of what innovation can be for you and your business.
“Innovation is a new way of doing things” is the definition provided by Moody and NoGrady in their book “The Sixth Wave” (http://sixthwave.org). A simple definition and a great starting point for discussion.
In a commercial sense, I suspect you want several benefits from doing something new, so in my view innovation goes beyond something new into meaning something better.
Michael Bungay Stanier has a fantastic model for doing work that is meaningful, and he provides a great overview of his model and activities that support taking action to do “great work” at http://www.domoregreatwork.com.
While not focusing on “innovation”, Michael categorizes work as
- “bad” – stuff that just doesn’t add value and we should get rid of
- “good” – essential stuff that fills our job descriptions, that keeps us busy, yet may not make the difference we want to make and
- “great” – work that makes a difference, is challenging and helps us understand our worth.
In many ways “great “work is the foundation for innovation.
Looking at what you do, where you create value for your client and making sure that you always look for the best option.
Innovation means not taking your job for granted and recognising that everyone has the chance to make a difference every day.
While that may be challenging, developing a culture that encourages and fosters innovation offers us all the chance to be the best we can.
Innovation is important for a number of reasons, but if it brings out the best in you it is something we all should be interested in.
I recently presented on “Innovation Leadership” to a group of local government leaders in Mildura – here is a copy of the presentation: Innovation leadership