So you want big ideas, ideas that others have used that you can plug and play and voila you’re in the game but are not willing to do the soft work. The work that the ‘thinkers’ should do, the work that gives you headaches because you have to use your brain.
Sorry to break it to you but innovation does require you to use all of your senses, not just going into automatic and doing the day by day hard labor. It’s important to be sensitive to the things that are changing around you by keeping your eyes and ears open and more importantly, being insanely curious.
Asking questions and noticing something different is where innovation starts, so why don’t people dedicate time to think, ponder and reflect?
Bottom line people see these types of activities as boring and not producing nothing in the short term. I think that Gapinvoid’s most recent cartoon captures this perfectly.
Innovation consultant Jeffrey Phillips wrote up a great argument and says that innovation isn’t just getting down to the daily nity gritty stuff, it also requires making time to think, ponder and reflect:
Sounds like fun, but doesn’t look like work, is the complaint that’s rattling around in your head. And you are probably right. This doesn’t look like the work that gets done in your business, simply because everyone is focused on the here and now, the further and later is not being investigated, and can’t be investigated or understood using the tools that look like work in most firms.
This has a cascading effect. Since the effort involved in understanding innovation opportunities doesn’t look like work, we find other urgent but less important things to fill our day. Then, we are left with the conundrum that while innovation is important, we can’t “find” time to innovate. It’s a vicious cycle, eventually leading to the failure to create new products and services, or to miss new market opportunities. Then, what was urgent becomes even more urgent, and even less attention is paid to innovation. Eventually everyone is working on next quarter’s efficiency savings and no one is taking time to innovate.
I bet you deal with this too, IMHO work isn’t just doing the day by day tasks, it also includes reading, thinking, pondering, conversing, reflecting; basically the things that are known to be a waste of time. But just like the cartoon above says, you have to do it anyway because if you don’t then you’ll be startled by the future because you weren’t paying attention.