The Key to Innovation

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Every day, we see new problems arise that have some effect on our lives. As members of a community, we can ignore them, which many do, or we can, as other pioneers in the past, explore them and come up with a method to live with our challenge or we can change our environment to cope with the new predicament.

In our past, the innovator might be the artist or architect, the carpenter or engineer, or the software programmer or business manager. However, today, we find that all people in every career need to have the skills to change their own world.

People who deal well with change, the recognized innovators, will tell us that there is a method to handle the challenge. First, we need to distinguish what new attributes have affected our surroundings. For instance, let us say our old building needs a means for the older members of the community to get from one floor to another. In many cases, only a few members of the neighborhood even have recognized the need, but we were given the task to come up with a solution.

First and the key to success, we need to create a method to communicate the need. The days of solving problems in a vacuum are over. Oh yeah, we can come up with the grandest elevator, or people mover, but at the end it will be the public around us that will judge our design and we will be the birth mother of a landmark or the scapegoat of a white elephant. Good communication fosters better research, which promotes multiple design concepts, involves the skilled laborers who will build the mechanism and more importantly plants the seed of acceptance when the new-fangled apparatus is added to our environment.

Does this process run smoothly? Honestly, real change to our environment always causes conflict. There are those who will vehemently protest the addition of any alterations to their old ways. We hear “why spend the money” or “we could have done it better.” Remember, all points of view are valid. However, as the person tasked to get those older members to the next floor, we have to transform our lives. Innovators need to listen to all, but the stress we carry by moving towards a new and changed surroundings needs to be noted and then released. This is important.

Once we build our foundation of a communication using reports, newsletters, and 3D drawings showing concepts and the impending alteration, we can follow any known process for solving a problem. Expect hiccups along the way and stay close to the process. Many innovators have been shocked to discover their designed sports car turned into a box with wheels when they left decisions to a less than informed purchasing manager or substitute construction supervisor. Watch the baptism of your creation throughout the process without stepping on toes. Be the cheerleader for positive change and incorporate the team to bring the change.

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