Sunday, September 17, 2017

Three “Q” Words in Innovators

We just need to intentionally cultivate creativity as a habit, and keep practicing them as a differentiated capability.

Creativity is a multidimensional thought process, higher level thinking capability, and often multidisciplinary association. Creativity has many “ingredients.” It is the flow, with a full-color spectrum. Innovators are the rare one, but innovators are within us. Here are three “Q” words in innovators.

Questioning: Innovation evolves observation, questioning, networking, and experimenting. The great innovators have a tendency to make great inquiries. Because innovation is about thinking differently, acting differently, delivering differently, adding value differently from the status quo. The creative cognition involves exploring varieties of meanings/thoughts, abandoning old connections, and establishing new relations. Because the good questions are open and thought-provoking, bring multifaceted perspective and encourage collective wisdom. The great question is like a piece of art, beautiful and insightful, connect the dots to spark imagination and enable dots-connection. People also have different experience and personality, therefore, they may have the different ways to develop creativity or provide feedback. Since curiosity is a natural aspect of learning, people who can ask great questions present both confidence and humility to explore unknown and be open for varying answers. Asking questions tells us that we are still curious, still willing to learn, with the beginner's mindset, which is one of the characteristics of innovators.

Quality: Nowadays quality and creativity are interconnected. Because quality without creativity is a commodity, and creativity without quality cannot create high-end commercial value. In fact, creativity is high-quality thinking, and innovation is how to transform creative ideas to achieve their commercial value via providing quality products or services. As a degree of quality is in everything people do and experience. People are always the weakest link in organizations. Quality ideas are often created by quality people who are self-motivated to think, learn, innovate or invent. Quality employees today are the people who can think and work independently, develop their creativity, and have excellent problem-solving skills. This can be the basic quality of the products/services, attracting new customers, etc. People quality often decides the quality of the other part of the business. High-quality leaders or employees have a winning mixture composed of character, creative intelligence, and competence in a humble frame of self-esteem which makes aware of his/her quality without needing to show them. From innovation management perspective, without human interactions, quality is not possible. It’s about putting profound knowledge, effective processes, and efficient tools actually used into actions and delivered it, and the most important thing is that you need to define quality as innovation management and quality as innovative leadership.

Quietness: If command and control often burst via extraversion, and then creativity usually flourishes in solitude. Creativity happens in both unconscious and conscious level, and it sparks by implicit rather than explicit underbelly of knowledge. The quietness of mind shuts off the background noise. With quietness, you can think deeper, you can hear your thoughts, you can reach deeper within yourself, you can focus, you can keep your mind flow frictionlessly or connect the dots seamlessly. Creativity is often inspirational from within, but brainstorming and participations matter as well, you need to be motivated to convey ideas and transform thoughts to be achievable. The quietness of mind comes from self-discipline that ensures thoughts train to have wider gaps to perceive such unique signals to trigger creativity, and also have a strong capacity to catch and store such signals before they leave us, for shaping novel ideas and express them with clarity.

Creativity is an innate ability to generate novel ideas. If you consider being creative as a way of thinking, of imagining, of expression, of perceiving things, of inventing, of inspiring, etc, then it happens every day, multiple times a day. We just need to intentionally cultivate creativity as a habit, and keep practicing them as a differentiated capability. The organization and our society will become more naturally digital fit with an abundance of creativity and fluency of innovation.


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