I am big fan of innovation, at workplace and in general. I have always challenged people on that front. Earlier this year, I also conducted Hackathon in my organization to promote innovation culture. I have been involved in running and arranging meetups(CloudStack, VMUG) which spark the ideas, exposes problems yet to be solved. I thought of sharing my learning in this blog. I have written on this topic earlier also(see here: Innovation: Visible and Invisible). You may check my earlier blogs as well.
One can innovate and bring changes very easily. It is not that you need team locked in a room for days together for creating innovations. Most importantly, innovation need not be a game of chance. If you keep your eyes, and ears wide open, usually, you would find opportunities to innovate. Innovations, of course, can be internal or external. Internal ones are usually towards processes, collaboration, automation, or any idea which can streamline experiences internally and help teams do more, and effectively. External ones are usually related to your customers, value you are bringing, problems which you are solving for them, and more importantly how.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has proven yet again that necessity is mother of innovation, invention, progress. As one can, in last 5-6 months, world has seen paradigm shifts in almost every domain, new innovative ways of tacking old problems in some cases, and in others, solving new problems.
There is not much option to innovate in this ever changing world. So, it is important to pay attention to what is changing in your problem domain, your customers. Once you understand, then you are in better position to solve by innovating your solutions for them. Approaches such as design thinking can help here. It is everyone’s responsibility to consciously take efforts to ask questions and find out what is changing. They can be around assumptions made, dependencies which are there or need not be there, what pain points are seen on the way,
As design thinking approaches suggests, to supplement and validate your observations of customers/users, surveys can be helpful, or even interviews in formal or even in informal setting can be useful. These, are, of course, methodical or formal ways.
Another innovation strategy is to look out for leaders in your problem domain, understand what they have done and find out what other alternatives, better ways it can be done. This principle can be applied in organizations also, to learn from innovations and improvements from other teams/departments.
Ideation is fundamental to innovation progress. Many factors such as need vs want, value, feasibility, usefulness, prototyping, proof of concepts etc. Innovation attempts many times can be disasters, can ultimately result in failure in this fast moving market. Failure needs to be celebrated, as it is stepping stone towards success. Embracing failures is essential ingredient of building innovation culture.
What has been your experience with innovation? Feel free to share.