Master the instrument, master the music, then forget all that shit and play. – Charlie Parker
Some say innovation is predictable, I agree. But to a larger degree it is not because you can’t really tell where it’s going to come from and who will be holding all the cards. Right now you’re probably in the ‘innovate or die’ mindset, you’re also probably feeling frustrated because you’re reading blogs, following innovation consultants on Twitter to try and do innovation but you are not getting anywhere.
Let me help clear things up for you, innovation takes time. It needs to be nourished, it needs to be practiced, it needs to be mastered.
All human activities involve a process of mastery
People are impatient by nature, we want things fast and easy. We want money, success, attention all right now. The problem with this thinking is that it’s all in the short term by sacrificing ‘being relevant’ in the long term. What you want is to outlast your rivals, building a foundation for something that can continue to expand well into the future and this requires patience and tenacity.
Doing this is not easy because we have to fight our natural tendency to want things as fast as possible. It can be done, but you must learn to endure the hours of practice and drudgery, knowing that in the end all of that time will translate into a higher pleasure; mastery of a craft and of yourself.
Your goal is to reach the ultimate skill level, an intuitive feel for what must come next. To do without doing, to know without knowing.
“What” is easy; “how” is harder
Pursuing the goal by telling everybody that you’re going to innovate is easy (what) but actually doing it (how) is another story, the fact is creativity is a state of mind and innovation is the process. So if you’re trying to make innovation a part of your company’s DNA you would do good by first starting to master what makes people innovative (creative style), then create a process by which your people can put those abilities to use and then let them play!
It’s about the journey, not the destination, creating things has to be fun but like my friend Gregg Fraley says: persistence, patience, and perseverance are as important to innovation as brilliance. Call it the three P’s of Innovation.
And remember that innovation is not a one time thing, it’s a commitment to staying relevant.