Fuel your reinvention: Breathe innovation

| By: Craig Fulton

Innovation. It’s a term thrown around everywhere, but it’s easier to say than to do. Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t have to be an inventor on par with Steve Jobs to be considered an innovator.

As Josh Linkner points out in his book “The Road to Reinvention,” innovation is a process. You’re not going to come up with amazing ideas when you’re stuck in the daily grind. Sometimes the best medicine is to step away from a situation to put it in perspective. Consider off-site problem-solving sessions, which can provide a fresh outlook on recurring issues when examined in a new environment.

Only after much chipping away can you come to a truly revolutionary reinvention. It might even be a small one. A simple adjustment to the shipping carrier you use or your procurement process could make a dramatic difference in your business’s efficiency.

You can reinvent at any time, even in a saturated market. All you have to do is choose a different path. Rather than being frustrated by shortcomings or slowdowns within your business, use them as opportunities for growth.

You don’t have to settle for status quo; by refusing to do so, you open up the door to a whole new world of creative solutions.

But how is this achieved? For us, the foundation for innovation lies in our culture that:

By implementing core values similar to these at your own company, you can begin to create a culture that innovates. These practices discourage group think and encourage open, constructive dialog to spur reinvention forward.

Innovation roadblocks

Group think, sour apples, uninspiring surroundings, and idea-squashing egos can bring innovation to an abrupt halt. Every company is susceptible to these. And regardless of how much effort you put into implementing the aforementioned five foundations of innovation, all is lost if you allow roadblocks to remain.

How to bulldoze roadblocks

At our company, we value our colleagues highly, which is why we built a culture founded on respect. If someone flagrantly disrespects another team member or creates issues for our high-achievers, we let them go. You simply can’t hang on to those who bring the whole team down.

We chose to take a different approach in the way we designed our offices. They are bright and full of color and light. Sure, we still have cubicles. However, the walls are rich in company colors, and we built them in an open, collaborative friendly manner.

Furthermore, we encourage everyone in the company to bring ideas forward. We solve problems collectively. Everyone’s opinion is heard, and the best solution is forged from many diverse contributions.

If you’re struggling to innovate, try:
  • Letting go of sour apples
  • Encouraging diverse ideas
  • Adding color or light to the office
  • Stepping away for a new perspective
  • Putting egos in their place

Some of these tips might apply to you, some might not. Tailor this list to your office, and start to make these adjustments. By doing so, you’ll free your team to journey into innovation.

And remember, the road to reinvention isn’t without its potholes, but by putting our roadmap to work for you, you’ll be on the right track for a brighter future.