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Three Keys to Establishing the Innovation Mindset

January 10, 2019 Carly Cope


Three Keys to Establishing the Innovation Mindset

Innovation mindset is a renewed way of thinking that breaks historic barriers to change and promote creativity and progressive thinking. However, many leaders still struggle to successfully implement it.

Is your organization effectively championing this approach? Take a moment to picture this...

As you walk down the street, a woman wearing a red sweater walks her dog past you. You exchange looks, give each other a friendly smile. You say to yourself: I have seen this woman before, wearing this exact same sweater, walking the exact same dog, on this very street…

This is déjà vu at its finest: seeing or experiencing something new but feeling as though you have seen it before.

Apply this to the business world. Your manager calls a team meeting to discuss a “new strategy” to implement. However – based on previous experiences with this manager – you believe the meeting will turn into two unproductive hours of teammates complaining, versus discussing the strategy and associated implementation efforts at hand. You say to yourself, “Here we go again. Another waste-of-my-time meeting, where nothing will get done except agreeing on a time to schedule a follow-up meeting to talk about what we were supposed to talk about today.” Déjà vu.

Now flip that on its head – vuja de. Described by Adam Grant in his book, Originals, this concept is the reverse of déjà vu. Vuja de: we face something familiar, but we see it through a new lens, with a fresh perspective that enables us to gain new insights on how to approach old problems.

Through the work we do at SHIFT, we are fueled by vuja de. We look at foundational issues like ineffective leadership or poor communication, and approach them from a different angle. We help our clients find the root cause of their problems, so they can more effectively implement solutions to address the current issues, while preventing those same (and similar) issues from arising again. This provides the space and capacity needed to effectively grow their business. Vuja de is the foundation of innovation, and innovation is the foundation of growth.

Just this month, SHIFT hosted a webinar to tackle this very issue: avoiding unproductive meetings by infusing energy, intention, and purpose into every meeting to move people to action.

How can you innovate?

Innovation is certainly a buzzword these days. Regardless of organizational size or sector, leaders know that innovation is important for business growth. However, they don’t always know how to go about the process of innovating. This is especially true in organizations and industries where traditional top-down processes and structures are in place that have historically limited creativity or out-of-the-box thinking.

To help tackle the perceived overwhelm of “becoming more innovative,” Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie provide some guidelines in their book, Designing for Growth.

Before you can move into action to innovate, you need to first prepare your mind to innovate by following these guidelines:

1. Practice a vuja de mindset: Approach challenges as opportunities to fail (and to learn). The richest insights to solving problems often come from our biggest failures. Don’t be afraid of them. In fact, relish your failures as fuel to craft your new big idea.

2. Think forward at all costs: Scrap the “this is the way we have always done it" thinking. Challenge yourself, and your team, to soak up every ounce of out-of-the-box thinking. Stare fearlessly into the status quo and walk bravely in the other direction. Yes, you will fail — but you'll rise more creative, more resilient, more innovative.

3. Empathize with the customer: Remember, customers are people. They aren’t just a demographic category or audience set. They have feelings, emotions, and beliefs that we must tap into if we’re going to provide a solution that truly addresses their needs.

Without the proper mindset, the actual practice of innovation seems more like an obstacle than an opportunity. This innovation mindset starts with you.

Stay tuned! In my next post, I'll reveal the steps for how you can build innovation and design thinking into your operational structure to help you survive and thrive in whatever industry you are in.

How will you drive an innovation mindset in your workplace?

Discover tools and techniques to drive more creative and progressive thinking within your organization (and solidify yourself as an industry innovator) during a SHIFT exploration session.

You’ll work one-on-one with me, or a fellow SHIFT expert, to identify your goals, devise an action plan for success, and identify where SHIFT can propel your initiatives.

It’s the first step in each of our client success stories and promises to be the best 30 minutes you’ll spend all week (perhaps, all year). Because together, and only together, we can change the world.

Schedule an exploration session today.

TOPICS: Employee Engagement