Sunday, September 10, 2017

The “V” Factors in Innovators

Vision keeps us focused, the variety of thoughts helps us engaged; the versatility of talent helps us connect dots seamlessly.

Creativity is the high level of thinking and innovativeness is about connecting the dots. What fuels creativity? It is a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Individually, people have curiosities, desire to learn and keep an inquisitive mind, let the imagination soar; collectively, innovation cannot happen without diverse thoughts or interdisciplinary dots connections. Here are three “V” factors in innovators.

Vision: Innovators are at their very heart visionaries. The foundation for innovation has to be grounded in the “vision.” Innovation comes with foresight to envision a need that others overlook or ignore and a willingness to forge ahead to satisfy visions, in spite of a risk of failure. It is self-imposed by trying to make our “visions” reality. Innovation has to be linked to “hope” and seeking justice or "truth." Not giving up on hope means to have a positive mentality and an optimistic attitude. Discovering the "truth" requires the analysis and discernment to understand multiple opinions and emotions which in many cases are among differing views and distorted facts, the inner and outer self is the struggle between what we know as reality and what we feel like our connection to the eco-environment. Just as we find energy is released from one steady-state to another, we find innovation from our outer realities attempts to change to the steady-state of our inner self. This energy is called innovation. Visionaries have the determination, dedication, motivation, and passion to make the vision into reality. Visionaries could also mean the ability to think outside the box, to think creatively, to be innovative both inside and outside the organization.

Variety: Creativity is about connecting wider dots interdisciplinarily. The essence of innovation is made of trying new combinations of known things or a variety of thoughts. Thus, it is important to respect the diversified point of view, move energy to a higher level by offering a clear vision of what is possible. As we bring more people into the dialog, we increase the probability of those various assumptions surfacing as each person filters different things. Focusing on digital variety will force you to confront new ideas. Creative tension is important to switch on the “innovative mode” of the business environment. Because focusing on diversity will force you to confront new ideas, new materials and possibly embrace a new concept that you may have never imagined. Each human being is an “innovative being” by definition as you won't find two humans that are exactly the same. We are all new combinations of the known. The digital variety and workforce diversity are no long wallflowers for decoration, but a switch to turn on the creativity light bulb. Since innovation is fundamentally about breaking assumptions, having more assumptions uncovered will lead to greater innovation. It's the essence of evolution.

Versatility: Creativity is about connecting unusual dots, having the breadth and depth of knowledge enables such dots connecting. Having enriched knowledge or versatile talent is foundational to create more fresh ideas in today’s sophisticated digital world, although knowledge shouldn’t confine our imagination. Still, versatility is not always equal to how many hobbies you have or how many activities you participate, to just keep your hands busy. Sometimes, the opposite is true, because creativity is often spurred via solitude. And sometimes, spreading time on doing too many things even turns to be a distraction from developing creativity or building the strength based on the innate talent. Thus, it is important to be learning agile, keep accumulating knowledge, but also fuel with passion about what you are doing, do not limit your imagination. Creativity is more as a capability than as a skill. Because skills can be trained via instilling knowledge, but often capability needs to take time, inner drive, and situations to develop, it is both nature and nurtured.

Creativity is the sophisticated thinking process and innovation is a thorny journey. Vision keeps us focused, the variety of thoughts helps us engaged; the versatility of talent helps us connect dots seamlessly. Digital means flow, there is more flow of creative ideas, the better opportunities to reap the benefit from innovation management. The creative environment is an incubator for innovation.
Making innovation happen starts with a mindset, build risk-taking culture, and keep the business process as simple and flexible as possible,


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