Friday, September 15, 2017

Three “O” Factors in Innovators

Being innovative is simply about thinking differently and doing things differently.

All living beings are creative. Creativity is infused with an inner cohesion and comes from a vision of uniqueness. Creativity involves birthing something into existence which was not there before. Creativity fluctuates, sometimes it sparkles in abundance, the other time, it seems to get blocked or even disappear. Innovators are those who can keep unlocking their creative potential and continue practicing for developing an innovative mindset. Here are three “O” words in innovators.

Out-of-box-thinking: Out-of-the-Box thinking is the metaphor of thinking creatively. “The box” is the mental construct made up of personal or environmental components that one operates within, your safety net or your comfort zone. The “box” is also the set of “rules” that you are abiding by at any moment in time. By breaking down those old rules, your mind is set free to create the new ideas that arise from identifying and challenging assumptions and then generating more possibilities. So, thinking outside “the box” means doing something outside of the confines of the construct. Out-of-the-Box thinking implies a certain level of creativity or unconventional problem-solving. "Out-of-the-Box” thinking is about continuing to break down the outdated old box, or expand the existing box, or shape the bigger and new box thinking, to discover alternatives and solve complex problems with creativity and collaboration. Thinking outside of box means you are in a continuous learning mode, embrace critical thinking and creative thinking proactively.

Originality: The beauty of originality is like the raw diamond, authentic, precious, though it’s imperfect. Original thinkers come up with conclusions and solutions for problems with their own unique brain processes. This world needs more of an original thinker than ever to handle the ever-increasing complexities and overwhelming growth of information. Original thinking is independent, creative, critical, special or different. Original thinkers master of independent thinking processes of being open to wonder, not get manipulated by authorities. It is like setting time aside to allow an idea or a problem to incubate. It is in combination with immediate learning give way to advancing insight. Digital organizations today need to be able to recognize their original thinkers in order to innovate and adapt, to de-mystify creativity in the way that makes it seem approachable, understandable, and generally applicable, and to build a culture of authenticity, to encourage real critical thinking and creativity.

Outside-in: Either for individual innovators or organization innovators, outside-in lens enable them to understand problems from other people’s perspective or understand issues from different angles. Customers become an important link in the innovation process of the business. Digital innovation is all about leveraging the better way to do things or meet the higher customer expectation. Innovators today need to gain the deep understanding of the users through empathy and observation, and using a more inductive approach as to what the customers want to accomplish “next.” This involves gaining a deep understanding of the motivational construct of the customer from the outside-in lens, in order that the innovator can become "anticipatory" of what the customer will likely "want next.”

Digital innovators are explorers and experts, because continuously expanding knowledge horizon becomes more strategic and tactical to conquer the sea of information and shorten knowledge life cycle. Be original or unique, to stand out from the mass, practice out-of-the-box thinking for exploring new possibilities. Digital professionals today must continue to learn for mastering professional skills, developing creativity, and building transferable capabilities. It is also important to understand things from the different angle or outside-in perspectives. Being innovative is simply about thinking differently and doing things differently.


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