Where does innovation thrive best?
Innovation can come from pretty much anybody. All it needs is a little bit of a spark, a tinge of outside-the-box thinking, and the boldness to believe and share. However, people who can consistently come up with creative solutions don’t do so by accident. They usually have certain traits that set them apart from the rest.
The common characteristics that breed innovation
In Episode 16 of The Innovation Room, Sat Sanghera, CEO of IP Integration, pointed to three common traits that successful and innovative founder-owners usually have in common. They include:
A tendency to always keep learning
A passion for finding problems and solving them
Prioritising the business and its people over fiscal gains
With all this said, it is essential to note that achieving innovation is one thing, and making it last is another, maybe even more difficult, matter.
How to make innovation sustainable
When it comes to sustainable innovation, the most important thing is having the support of the right people. It can be quite expensive to innovate, and the problem is that you cannot be half-hearted with innovation. You have to be all in if you are to achieve anything substantial. And this can only be achieved with the support of the wider leadership team.
However, not every innovation should receive a positive answer. A big part of sustainable innovation is saying no to things that would waste precious company resources without leading to considerable benefits for the business and the people involved in it. Having a well-rounded innovation strategy and sticking to it can be an excellent stimulant for targeted innovation.
Although this may sound counterintuitive, it is also helpful to set limitations around innovation. Throughout human history, constraints have sparked the most ingenious of creations. So always remember to rein in your ideas and discipline your thoughts.
Want to sell your innovation? Simplify your message.
An area where a lot of businesses fail to shine is telling the story of their innovation. In the business world, there is a tendency to overcomplicate things in order to sound sophisticated and impressive. Nevertheless, often the most memorable of messages are the simplest ones.
What you can do is simplify your proposition. In plain terms, explain what your innovation does, what problem it solves, and why it is relevant to your audience. If you can achieve this, your message is sure to stick. All that remains is for you to support your message with actual references, which will create further trust by showing your audience that people have used your innovation to solve their issues.
Protecting your innovation
Not everyone understands your ideas. Investors may want to have their own way in business, and this can be detrimental to innovation. In order to protect your innovation from unwanted shareholder intervention, you should always remember “The Three C’s:”
Chemistry: Many people may be interested in your business. However, the right ones are those who understand what you do, are willing to talk about your vision, and actively discuss future partnerships with you. Don’t forget: investors aren’t unopposable paymasters. They are partners who should help the well-being of the business, and fostering innovation is an integral part of that.
Certainty: Once you have secured investors you clique with, it’s time to gain certainty about your innovation by making sure everyone is bought in and shares your innovative vision.
Cash: After all, every project needs investment, and it is important to have access to the required resources.
Innovation can turn around your business. It is worthwhile to take steps to foster and sustain it. If you stay focused on your people, purpose, and values, you will always maintain a strong and healthy culture where innovation thrives. Profit will then follow. So don’t be afraid, and let your ideas roam free!