PART FIVE IN A SERIES – Innovate
Innovate means: develop more ideal solutions, apply them intelligently, and adapt continuously.
We are pretty far along in the series, so let's insert a very quick summary.
As a human and / or an organization you must add value to remain relevant. You need to constantly monitor your state of relevance. Once you determine your state of relevance, you need to figure out how to increase or maintain your relevance over time. Typically, people approach this in a predictable manner.
- First, look to their history to see what experience can be repeated to stimulate success in this new situation.
- If that doesn’t work, look to people/companies who have been successful in the past. Examine what they did in similar situations.
- If that doesn’t do the job, look to other parts of the organization / community for best practices that apply in this area, too.
- Need more? Look to a wider sphere of influence (around the industry, other countries, etc.) for best practices and applicable knowledge.
- Apply these best practices and hope for the same successful results.
The problem is, transplanting someone else’s best practices may not ‘stick’ at your organization. Transplants don’t always take hold in different cultures and on particular projects and within specific situational constraints. All things not being equal, best practices don’t always achieve identical results.
Not all best practices are created equal over time, either. Something that worked before, may not work now for a variety of reasons.
- End of Summary -
If best practices are not meeting your expectations, then it is time for the next survival tool. Go beyond best practices – invent intelligently. This does not mean just brainstorm new ideas. (You know how we feel about brainstorming!)
Innovation means developing more ideal solutions, applying them intelligently, and adapting continuously. This will allow us to produce more synergistic, relevant, and strategic solutions.
The downside to innovating is most of the time it requires more effort, courage, and persistence than copying (see note below). But if it is performed well, the solution will be better.NOTE: It requires more effort unless you get that delightful lightning strike of brilliance that appears out of the blue and solves your problem. It happens. And when it happens, innovation is a much better approach: quicker, more resource efficient, and down right exciting. Too bad, most of us cannot predict that lightning bolt of brilliance or rely entirely upon it.
Here is a little hint about when you are due to spend some time analyzing your psychological inertia (mindset momentum, assumptions, etc.). If you are losing relevance, then there is already one or more fundamental pieces of your specific puzzle missing. In other words, key elements of your mindset are misguided. If you are losing relevance, your strategy is flawed and you need to resolve a hidden contradiction.