Innovation is about doing something new with a purpose. It is also a buzz word that everyone talks about. There are many successful stories about how someone’s simple idea has suddenly turned into a multi-million dollar venture or has saved thousands of lives. But what most people fail to realise is that innovation is a process, which involves many steps and it is a capability that requires deliberate cultivation. Those overnight success stories, while inspiring, unfortunately are over simplified by the media. So just exactly how do we cultivate our innovative capability?
Innovation begins with a right frame of mind.
Being innovative requires a certain level of agility. This means flexible thinking. But flexible and lateral thinking will not happen unless you are in a right frame of mind. And indeed, your mind plays a large part in your innovative process. Psychologist Dr Barbara Fredrickson is a leader in the field of positive emotions research. In a TED video, Positive Emotions Open Our Mind, Dr Fredrickson talked about how we are more receptive and creative when experiencing positive emotions. Furthermore, we are also more open to new skills and knowledge if our mindset is a positive one.
We should all be excited about Dr Fredrickson’s findings, because apparently there is a thing called neuroplasticity, which means we can actually re-wire our brain to induce more positive emotions. But how exactly do we set a right frame of mind? The answer is with some simple and achievable exercises. For example, reading a list of “positive words” such as happiness, future and success before going into a meeting can subconsciously shift our perspective and make us more receptive to ideas. Imagine doing this together with your team and see the transformation over time. Make it fun, why stop at reading positive words? What about doing a positive word puzzle exercise with your team? Better still, why not start a positive culture by trying out some positive affirmation activities at work? Remember, a positive mind and culture is critical to innovation process.
Innovation is to capitalise your randomness with a structure.
Contrary to what people think, being innovative does not mean being chaotic. While we encourage free thinking and welcome fabulous random creative thoughts, to monetise an idea requires a clearly defined business process. Let’s face it, having an idea is one thing, to make money out it is another. From ideation to commercialisation, a solid innovative process helps refine and enhance your brilliant idea to ensure it is indeed marketable while minimising any risks involved. So simplify the whole innovation game by putting in place a robust process including initiatives to encourage idea generation. For businesses who are unaccustomed to the innovative process, find an innovation consultant early on to build up your innovation capability will save your time and money.
Decision fatigue impairs innovative ability
From what to eat for breakfast to what to wear for work, we make millions of decisions every day. Although our brain is very powerful, it does suffer from decision fatigue. As our day goes on and the number of decisions to be made piles up, our brain’s ability to analyse and make decisions starts to decrease. A fatigue mind is less agile and often reverts back to a more conservative mindset and consequently, is less responsive to the whole concept of innovation. To minimise the effect of decision fatigue, holding your creative discussions early in the day or before lunch time may be a wise decision!
Innovation is an important business function and to stay competitive, one should not overlook it. Innovation, however, is not something most businesses feel confident about. Let us help you. From improving business efficiency to bringing an idea to life, contact Notonos Global today to find out how growing your innovation capability can transform your business.