Many consultants pitch innovation as a systematic, repeatble process. I believe these people are just appealing to people’s need for certainty and fill their pockets. As I’ve explained before, innovation is very hard. And though I’m seen as an innovation consultant, I don’t like being called an expert or consultant in innovation because there’s no such thing.
Many of these experts are really experts in facilitating methodologies; this creates a false sense of having experience in innovation. For me, innovation starts with habits; not methodologies.
With that said, does experience matter for innovation?
The problem with this question is innovation rarely happens the same way everytime; anyone who says differently has never done it. All innovators share a particular set of traits and mindset which drives their internal engine to try and do epic stuff. If you click and read through my post you’ll see that innovation isn’t a matter of age or experience; it’s a matter of attitude, perspective, persistence and determination.
From my perspective, those of us who live and breathe innovation have a very specific mindset with a bias for action.
Still, not unlike other people, innovators become more risk averse as they gain more experience. So while people with experience are valued, when it comes to innovation, what’s important is knowing what not to do and having a beginner’s mind.
Most of what’s called innovation is not disruptive; it’s incremental. That’s all most people know. Because to work on truly game-changing things is to work in the unknown; which is what most established companies avoid at all costs.
Innovation does not happen in a straight line. But can count on eventually getting it right the more you put your innovation habits into practice. Remember: Experimentation is the shortest path to innovation. So, in other words, try more stuff!