Innovation—which represents an invigorating kickstart—can begin from any one of Six KickStarting Points:
KickStart #1. Who?
You. Yes, you.
Rely on innovation to come from others and you won’t be receptive when an opportunity appears to you.
- Know a lot about a subject or service? Your in-depth understanding may allow you to shift parameters or factors around for a new take on the norm. Go as far as exploring the ridiculous, impossible, or outrageous and the new mix may lead to innovation.
- Know little about a topic or trend? Your clean-slate perspective, combined with your professional-grade comprehension of other topics, may reveal “cracks and crevices” where new ideas could take hold and flourish.
If you’ve always been a “just the facts” professional, remember, it’s never too late to innovate.
KickStart #2. Where?
Innovation may come to you from across the country, the other side of the ocean, or over the net, but the seeds of inspiration lie, often overlooked, close at hand:
- With your prospects: Their lack of experience with you and your services, leaves them free to have high expectations and to welcome the impossible. Instead of quickly dismissing their ideas or firmly setting them straight on how things have always been done, stop and listen. Consider what they share with you and delve into how to apply their fresh perspectives.
- With your clients: Their experience with you and your advice, has them coming back for more, but exactly, “Why?” If they’ll answer that question honestly and candidly, you may discover how and why they see things differently from you. This insight, combined with revelations of what they misunderstand or what they understand better than you do, can feed innovation on many levels from product design and branding to goal achievement—yours and theirs.
KickStart #3. What?
Does innovation need to be disruptive to make an impact? No, nor “brand new” or “unique.” Innovation may be large or small, a “lightning bolt” or a tweak, dead-on invention or fruitful mistake. When innovation is effective, it starts a chain reaction or avalanche of ideas, new behaviors, reactions…that trigger new products, expand markets, grow ventures, and expedite goal achievement.
KickStart #4. When?
Always. Stay curious and alert wherever you are and whatever’s going on. Ideas will come to you and further thought will build them into practical innovation.
- When are you at your most creative and curious? What environments get your creative “juices” flowing? Conferences or symposiums where there’s deliberate mixing of old ideas and fresh new ones? Or is your spirit awakened by experiences widely different from work—travel, sports, museums, music….
- Don’t just follow old patterns like restricting the search for new ideas to the start of the new year or September’s carry-over fresh start from back-to-school days. Incorporate the search for innovation opportunities into every month, week, and day until it’s your signature habit to continually explore possibilities. Innovation’s the one thing you must make time for to grow your business, earn credibility, deserve trust, and stay ahead of competition.
KickStart #5. Why?
One of the most effective creative approaches for searching out innovation is the one I call “WHY 5.” Ask “Why?” five times and answer thoroughly each time.
- Ask “Why?” and thoughtfully answer this question.
- Then ask, “Why?” regarding this first answer.
- Take that thoughtful response and ask “Why?” about that answer. By the third response to your “Why?” questions, you’re beginning to dig down and reveal how much surrounding this element of service delivery or another aspect of your business is habit, mediocrity, or “we’ve always done it that way” inertia.
- Ask “Why?” again and you may find yourself in unexplored territory.
- By the last “Why?” evaluation of your fifth answer, new ideas abound.
If you don’t get this KickStart reaction, you’re not genuinely digging deep to answer each “why.” There’s no benefit without this work.
KickStart #6. How?
How will all this apply to you? What is unique about the context of your work and that of your target clients? The Five Innovation Realities shared in my article, “Ready for Essential Innovation?” will help you evaluate context, meet challenges ahead, and achieve your goals. Discover how in perspectives on innovation common to sales professionals—in this example, real estate and financial professionals—which have implications for all professional communicators or wannabes.
For more on another step forward, check out these posts:
- 5 Foresight Strategies for Avoiding Hindsight Remorse
- 4 Signs of Invisible Procrastination
- An example of opportunities for innovation: Coaching in the context of the financial and real estate industries. What can hold you back? Are you prepared for coaching success?
For more on PJ’s work as The Catalyst, visit www.TheCatalyst.com