This is the last article of the year, and I want to conclude with a summary of the themes that were discussed during the year, and give you some inspiration for your innovation efforts for next year.
There is some method in the madness for writing these articles and I had some specific themes during the year. Innovation is about taking action and I started with the theme of taking action, trying, failing, learning from failure and trying again. The quote of Samuel Beckett summarizes it best: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better”. I concluded this theme with a look at how self-belief can have a positive influence on your innovation capabilities.
Following on this theme was Risk Management. Innovation, unavoidably means taking risks. However, taking risks to innovate does not mean jumping out of an aeroplane without a parachute; it is something that can be planned for and dealt with systemically. Next was the theme of quality of thinking. The key message here was that quality of thinking leads to quality of actions. A proper thinking environment, finding time to think, addressing the right questions and some techniques for creative thinking were addressed in this theme. Following the thinking theme was the “dialectic approach” to innovation, with the key message that there are some chance elements of innovation which cannot be planned for – called serendipity. Research has emerged that show that serendipity, or “happy accidents” can be engineered, and organisations must be open to chance occurrences and unexpected connections that can lead to innovation. Following was the theme of the “starting point” for innovation, which looked at the use of tools like scenario planning and trend spotting to discover customer’s needs and reading trends to be in front of the curve. Then I spent a lot of time on the issue of getting your ideas implemented, specifically selling your ideas and getting support for your ideas. The theme of embedding innovation in your daily routine also featured. I also addressed some very specific topics, namely, innovation and Big Data, innovation and Systems Thinking, Innovation Centres and innovation and Social Media.
Inspiration for the New Year
This is a time of the year when people wind down and take a well-deserved rest. It is good for your health and your “creative thinking-and-doing” skills to rest properly and also break your work routine and habits to find some quiet time to think and plan for next year. Whether you’re the CEO, a middle manager or a shopfloor steward, your job, organisation and career will benefit a great deal by improving your creative thinking skills and by taking action on your creative ideas.
I did not have to think too hard about what I am going to leave you with to motivate you for your innovation efforts next year. It is Star Wars fever everywhere with the new edition of the very successful movie franchise being released this week. The Star Wars saga under leadership of George Lucas challenged the status quo of movie making on every aspect and became one of the best examples ever of creativity, innovation and inspiration. I am sure not everybody is a fan, but whether you have seen it or not, I am sure you will relate to the quote I leave you with. In one scene, one of the memorable characters “Yoda”, is trying to teach his apprentice some new skills. The apprentice, Luke Skywalker, is very sceptic of his own abilities, and responds to one of his mentor’s instructions with “OK, I’ll try” leading Yoda to reply “No! Try Not. Do, or Do Not, there is no try”! So, concerning innovation in your organisation next year, go and do it, don’t say I’ll try!
Next year I am going into the “field” to collect data for my PhD research. It is a bit frightening and and somehow exiting at the same time, but the one thing I can guarantee you is that it will definitely generate some great topics for writing about innovation! Thank you for reading my articles throughout the year. I really enjoy talking and writing about innovation, and you make it possible for me. Enjoy the festive season with your loved ones and come back safe.