13 Feb Do you have an innovation mindset?
In 2018, the next wave of technology, disruption and heightened competition will place pressure on professionals to demonstrate innovative thinking and ingenuity. In fact, from an employer’s perspective, demonstrating these qualities might just determine whether you get hired for the job.
So what exactly is innovation? According to the Business Dictionary, innovation refers to, “The process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value…Innovation involves deliberate application of information, imagination and initiative.” Interestingly, the definition also states that innovation is “synonymous with risk-taking”, suggesting that all great ideas involve an element of risk.
People with an innovation mindset are not afraid to think outside the box, experiment, trial new ideas and, most importantly, fail. Failure is a key part of innovation, because it teaches critical thinking, resilience and strategies for self-improvement and how to perform better next time.
Here are three key qualities that will help you develop an innovation mindset at work.
1. Ask questions and share ideas. An innovation mindset is all about challenging the status quo and looking for ways to do things differently. If you think there’s room for improvement in an area of your workplace, don’t be afraid to ask questions and share your ideas. Even if your idea doesn’t come to fruition, asking questions shows curiosity, reflectiveness and a willingness to learn. Ask your team leader, “Has this process always been done like this? Would you consider trialing a new approach? I had this idea…” Explain your idea with confidence, but avoid being pushy.
2. Nurture your creativity. Nurturing your creativity is essential to an innovation mindset. With the right internal tools and external environment, you will be able to flourish creatively. You will become more inspired to take risks and more determined to see your ideas come to life. To boost your creativity, create a stimulating work space that motivates you. For example, you could pin some positive affirmations, goals and images above your desk. Exercise your imagination by giving yourself a creative challenge every day. Reflect on your day and carry a note book with you at all times, in case you have a sudden flash of inspiration. Be sure to take time out for yourself and pursue activities that energise you, as creativity flows into all facets of your life.
3. Take risks and don’t be afraid to fail. An innovation mindset is not just something that happens internally: it’s about the creativity you share with the world and how you interact with the people around you. Remember that making mistakes, taking risks and even failing at times is a key part of innovation. In fact, those times that you make a mistake and learn something from it will be among your most valuable experiences in the workplace. So don’t be afraid to risk risks. Be authentic and true to yourself. Believe in your ideas and the valuable skills and knowledge you bring to your workplace. There’s a lot of truth in the adage, “Believe in yourself and others will believe in you, too.” Over time, you will failure will strengthen your resolve to overcome fear, self-improve and charge forward in your career.