Is an Innovation Mindset the Key to Becoming a Successful Business Leader?

by | Jan 12, 2023

The world of business today requires leaders to be more than just managers of programs and resources. With challenges existing in supply chains, the recruitment and retention of employees, and more, today’s business leaders must be innovative in their work to keep the competitive edge for their company and as an individual in the workforce. The Harvard Business Review notes, “innovation is work rather than genius” allowing individuals the assurance that they can identify where breakthrough moments may be found to get ahead. Here are three concepts for your organization or personal life to begin looking for opportunities to innovate:

Innovation begins with awareness

Start by taking an inventory of the present situation and opportunities available. For organizations, consider asking customers and end users questions, observing processes, and seeking out trends and forecasts. For individuals, take time to reflect on values and needs. Envision the process as if you were watching it in a scale model to make observations you may not see on the ground level.

Innovation must be simple and focused

The K.I.S.S. Theory (Keep It Simple Stupid) is a cliché for a reason. Being concise about the innovation to be made will help others catch the vision for change. Over-explaining and going into details misses the point and does not allow for the creativity of others to join in the change process. This is especially true in larger industries, where revolutionary changes are dismissed because of the disruptions they cause. For individuals, simplicity helps keep a focus on one area of change that, in turn, can create a ripple effect in other areas. For example, what may begin as a focus on time management can become available time for adopting new skills.

Innovation is built on knowledge

Innovation begins with base-level knowledge of a process or function. Business publications are full of examples of individuals who have disrupted their fields by already being subject matter experts in their area. For example, Melanie Perkins, CEO, and co-founder of Canva, the popular design site, started as a private tutor for graphic design. Seeing there was only a singular, complex software, she created simple, online software requiring no technical expertise. Taking what she knew of her field and building upon her experiences allowed her to find an opportunity.

Innovation can change the future of how an organization is run. It also has the power to change the path of an individual’s life. Having an innovative mind begins with having the desire to learn. Obtaining a degree, especially a liberal arts degree, is an exercise itself in learning to view the world through a broader lens and to think critically about the opportunities around you.

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