Innovation is a powerful concept, and so needed today in every aspect of our lives. Innovation is the fuel of aspirations, passion and change, if we can create the space to engage with our curiosity and imagination. Recently Sojourn Partners hosted the New Hampshire Leadership Advantage Innovation Workshop where three amazing thought leaders shared their secrets. Errik Anderson of Adimab, Matt Albuquerque from NextStep Bionics and Prosthetics and Jamie Coughlin of abi Innovation Hub all spoke candidly to 60 up-and-coming business leaders about how to create an innovation mind space. What follows are the key points that the attendees reported were most meaningful to them:
First on the list is the ability for the organization’s culture to collaborate. Not just talk, but rather action oriented conversation that creates excitement and arm waving. If you know Errik, Matt and Jamie, this is how they communicate, with enthusiasm!
Equally important is healthy competition. Not the “you against me” kind of energy, but the “we are in this together to win” kind of energy. The need to reach a goal is a critical ingredient of human motivation, and when we have partners in that, we become powerful.
Third on the list is mindfulness. That’s being able to notice what is going on around you and within you, which includes your peers, customers and greater environment. The cultivation of mindfulness carries you to more deeply experience your opportunities and challenges. As a higher order of being, it allows you to stand outside your self as an observer and manager of your world. This is when breakthroughs occur.
Connecting to your passion and remembering it allows you to run the triathlon after the innovation begins to solidify. Innovation does not end, it evolves with you over time, and if you can stay in touch with the original excitement you held when you first created an idea, you will not be distracted. The important point here is that passion has to be real, and it is real when you feel it.
Willingness to Fail
Finally, and perhaps most important, is that you have to be willing and able to fail. Necessity is the mother of invention, and failure is the father of innovation. Failure not only eliminates one wrong option, it informs you about what to do next. If safety and security around failure is missing, you will just do what you have always done.
What is most important about these points is that they were developed by 60 people in 2 hours. Pure innovation.
Dr. Russ Ouellette, managing partner of Sojourn Partners, a Bedford, NH-based executive leadership strategy and coaching firm, can be reached at 603-472-8103 or firstname.lastname@example.org.