𝗚𝗼 𝗘𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲: 𝗜𝗻𝗻𝗼𝘃𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻
Updated: Feb 25
“𝑰𝒎𝒂𝒈𝒊𝒏𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒕𝒂𝒌𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆.”
– Albert Einstein
Most startups grow by creating demand, solving problems better, or costing less. Their successes share one feature – Innovation.
For startups, innovation can create a competitive advantage, determine a market leader, increase efficiency, lower costs, and most importantly, prevent the danger of stagnation.
𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗮 𝗖𝘂𝗹𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗜𝗻𝗻𝗼𝘃𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻
To foster and formalize innovation, encourage your team to propose and to test new ideas through these areas:
𝘚𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘥𝘶𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨: Show you value innovation by devoting recurring times for deep work, to present new software, and to brainstorm projects.
𝘙𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘨𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯: Celebrate new ideas themselves and suggestions which eventually save costs or garner client recognition.
𝘚𝘢𝘧𝘦𝘵𝘺 𝘕𝘦𝘵: Inspire everyone to share ideas by praising experiments and emphasizing learning even if the ideas "fail".
𝘚𝘰𝘭𝘶𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘈𝘱𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘢𝘤𝘩*: Seek solutions immediately with a crisis. The temptation may be to lament or ruminate on what happened.
Know that problems exasperate limitations, while solutions emphasize new opportunities, and facilitate moving forward.
𝗖𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗰𝘁 𝗩𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗼𝘂𝘀 𝗜𝗱𝗲𝗮𝘀
Ideas may come from many sources. Some ways to cultivate them:
𝘕𝘦𝘵𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬: Create channels where everyone can suggest ideas, from public brainstorms to anonymous surveys. Ideas come from diversity.
Even a simple survey (2-4 questions) can generate new suggestions.
𝘊𝘰𝘯𝘯𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴: Combine different teams (e.g. work groups or random matching) to share experiences and discover new approaches.
You may formalize combinations to solve specific problems or ask a task force to generate futuristic ideas.
𝘌𝘹𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘦: Place yourself and the team in new situations to generate originality. Visit an unfamiliar place or take classes in new areas.
Consider a small stipend to take a class or read a new book with the only stipulation that the person shares what they learned.
𝘋𝘪𝘨 𝘋𝘦𝘦𝘱𝘦𝘳: Like a doctor separating symptoms from the underlying disease, you need to go beyond the surface level.
When a problem arises, understand why does it matter and what does the team hope to accomplish, and how will our work improve?
In order words, don't take problems simply at face value.
𝗣𝗿𝗶𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗶𝘇𝗲 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗘𝗳𝗳𝗼𝗿𝘁𝘀
If you can create a useful system for evaluating ideas, that will create efficiency as you evaluate many of them in the future.
"𝑷𝒆𝒐𝒑𝒍𝒆 𝒘𝒉𝒐 𝒄𝒂𝒏 𝒇𝒐𝒄𝒖𝒔, 𝒈𝒆𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈𝒔 𝒅𝒐𝒏𝒆. 𝑷𝒆𝒐𝒑𝒍𝒆 𝒘𝒉𝒐 𝒄𝒂𝒏 𝒑𝒓𝒊𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒛𝒆, 𝒈𝒆𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒓𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈𝒔 𝒅𝒐𝒏𝒆."
𝘎𝘰𝘢𝘭𝘴. Start with clear, measurable goals and objectives, revisiting them for clarity when discussing challenging decisions.
𝘗𝘳𝘰𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘴. Determine who will suggest, evaluate, and rank ideas (consider a small group of 2-4 people to make recommendations).
𝘌𝘷𝘢𝘭𝘶𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯. Decide on criteria to evaluate ideas. Some options:
Impact – What do your clients, company, team, and individuals stand to benefit from a new idea? What can go wrong for them?
Expertise – Which resources, authorities, and team members will provide useful guidance?
Experiment – Can you run a small test to mitigate potential risk?
𝘙𝘢𝘯𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨. Rate how each idea helps the company, team, and clients. Bonus: You will construct useful, objective criteria for future ideas.
𝗘𝘅𝗲𝗰𝘂𝘁𝗲 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗜𝗱𝗲𝗮𝘀
An idea without implementation is useless, so follow these steps:
𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯: Foster new ideas and interest from the team and stakeholders by sharing challenges and threats.
As people see their input matters, they will be more supportive and more eager to proactively suggest and test ideas.
While effective communication can be tiring, it builds long-term support and lures suggestions to improve upon the original idea.
𝘚𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘌𝘹𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴: Any good professional is a teenager at heart. We want to know why we are doing something, not just told to do it.
By setting expectations, even if people do not agree with the details, knowing the context will give them more confidence in the plan.
𝘔𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵: Based on desired outcomes, decide the following:
Who will own measurement? (Only one person)
What criteria will you measure?
What are the milestones?
Is there a scale of success?
How will you share findings?
How will you decide to continue the project?
𝘍𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘣𝘢𝘤𝘬. Review progress on a specific date. Share ongoing reports and meet intermittently to keep advancing the objectives.
Based on your findings and other priorities, decide whether to keep going, apply even more resources, or to experiment with a new idea.
Innovation drives expansion, efficiency, and engagement. Improve how you collect, implement, and measure ideas to grow successfully.
* More on Solutions Approach here: https://www.webuildscalegrow.com/post/8744b544
Photo by Skye Studios which can be found here: http://www.skyestudios.net/