For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.
I enjoyed listening to Robert Tucker discuss how we can make ourselves indispensable through innovation in a recent webinar. He is the leader of the The Innovation Resource Consulting Group, where he helps companies develop strategic innovations. During his presentation he spoke about how we all can innovate but we must use our Innovation Skills or “I-Skills” as he called them.
He told us a story to illustrate how important it is to use the right tool and be prepared to use. Robert was on a camping trip in the Grand Tetons National Park a few years ago all by himself. He found a nice camping spot as the sun began to set and setup his camping gear and tent. As he finished up he wandered down to a stream and got lost as the sun went down. He had a flash light in his camping gear near his tent, that would have been very helpful in the thick forest as he tried to find his way back. He worked his way through the trees to where he thought his tent was, but that didn’t work. He finally gave up and just slept under a pine tree.
When he woke up the next morning his tent was about ten feet away from where he slept. The problem was he didn’t have the right tool, his flashlight, when he needed it. This is similar to the Innovation Skills he described to us, they are tools and we have to know when and where to use them. When we innovate we become indispensable.
Innovation isn’t just for a select few, it is for everyone at all levels of organizations. Using Robert’s skills we can develop ourselves and become indispensable to any organization we are part of. Here are Robert Tuckers 7 Innovation Skills
1. Be able to spot and seize opportunities
Mr. Tucker wants us to be ready when an opportunity presents itself and take action. Too many of us put off our options until the time to act has past.
2. Excel at assumption assaulting
Each organization has assumptions that they follow, many times we cling to things as they are fact when they are based on false or misinterpreted observations. Tucker described how many computer companies produce similar products and then along comes Apple to innovate and change things up.
3. Possess a high level of empathy
Robert says that innovators have extreme empathy for their end users. They understand what they struggle with and change things to make it more intuitive and easier to use.
4. Able to think ahead of the curve
No we are not going to get a crystal ball and see the future, but Robert points out we should be able to spot trends. We notice that cellphones are getting more powerful, how can we leverage that? What trends do you notice in your industry? How can capitalize on those trends?
5. World class collaborator and communicator
You might think that there are people that come up with innovative ideas all by themselves. Tucker points out that most innovations are when we take ideas from someone else and build and enhance them, collaboration is where the magic happens.
6. Produce new ideas in abundance
We will not come up with an innovation with every new idea, but we need become adept at creating new ideas and variations. Tucker recommends that we get use to brainstorming often and once we get use to doing this regularly our ability to produce ideas will increase. I have heard other people suggest we carry a notebook and jot down ideas that come to mind.
7. Adept at building buy-in for new ideas
Building buy-in for a new idea takes some persuasion skills. To bring a new idea through development to execution takes enticement and coercion. The status quo is easy and change can be hard, we have to keep up the battle.