Whether business, education or social interaction that excite, the trendy words are often related to stimulation of thinking, out-of-the-box idea or innovative approaches to solving difficult day-to-day puzzles. So, if the obvious elephant in the room is to be innovative, what is the cause of the struggle to apply new ideas and ultimately benefit from them? What is the red sign that stops the innovation from entering the room of business operations, educational approaches and public sector practices? The fear of being inappropriate, the hesitation engraved by lack of persuasive courage to defend new concepts or people’s behavioural and cultural biases and entrenched thinking that unconsciously block innovation to appear.
There is a remedy for this dangerously stagnant thinking that freezes the creative brain cells from seeing the daylight of innovation. What can be the threats of new thinking? The fear of change amongst stakeholders, the level of negotiation needed to compromise when differences arise and input needed to test and try new things and processes that in the end increase collaboration and contribute to the enlargement of the neuroplasticity of our brains enriched with ideas and experiences gained throughout the journey of introducing innovation.
This new way of doing things, thinking and considering untested ideas or organising our work can be understood through the prism of the same benefits that total quality management brought to engineering and manufacturing in the 80s or the launch of supportive tools for creative industries designed by Apple. Both instances when analysed closely reveal extraordinary levels of improvements they both brought to the different environment by introduction of incremental changes and ultimately transforming the unknown and potentially threatening to something familiar and even liked and appraised. The total blend of tools both events initiated, followed by rich insights on how the innovations have been applied to work processes can be courageously phrased as a social technology or a social change.
Acknowledging the challenges that are associated with innovation, is it easier to successfully launch innovation?
Firstly, let’s take a closer look at the definition of success that shall be understood as an accomplishment of a defined goal or a satisfactory outcome of a process or other undertaking, and an endless journey of improvement, hope and faith in own abilities.
Obama defines success as the ultimate “difference you make in people’s lives”, whereas for Branson “true success should be measured by how happy you are”, Winfrey firmly states it is all about “how to be used in the greater service to life”, the most profoundly related to the phenomenon of innovation and worth mentioning here is the definition authored by ChurchillChurchill, one of the most important figures of the 20th century of global scene of politics and history; for him success is the journey of trying, testing, failing and rising again, it
“is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm”.
In a business environment, successful innovation equals superior solutions, lower risks and costs of change, and employee buy-in, reminds Liedtka (Harvard Business Review, 2018). What are the solutions that can be expected from the successful introduction of innovation to an organization? Asking better and more thoughtful questions that do not hinder innovation but open up minds to possibilities that can solve issues and show direction for better results and originality. Design thinking that is associated with innovation usually brings diverse insights and approaches to the table of existing status quo and only if the right mindsets meet and are ready for welcoming rather than crucifying change, the seed of improvement is planted.
This can be challenging to accommodate and to manage, however, if opposing conversations happen amongst people who are willing to listen and get involved, new debates appear toward the desired outcome, purposeful innovation.
Innovation needs to start somewhere and sometimes a pretty obvious step but often very troublesome is the recognition of an issue that needs addressing through new ways of seeing it and resolving. To support the discovery phase, a practice of a gallery walk can be beneficial to pinpoint the salient marks on the map of a scenario that needs a defined structure that translates fear and instability into easy to comprehend and follow a structure that does not require thinking and becomes more of the habitual guard in following an agreed process.
Is there a space for innovation in an organized structure?
Yes, as design thinking that is founded on innovation on many occasions requires a firm order, in particular, in circumstances when many people are involved in the delivery of an innovation project, as this organized process keep individuals on track while reducing the tendency to dedicate more than affordable time on exploring ideas to solve a problem or deliver change. The innovation element in a solid structure of processes can be found in design thinking that delivers the sense of security by having a defined way of approaching things, however, it also allows the freedom to delve deeper into discovering ideas and testing them for success. It is the structural approach, that welcomes one step after completion of the previous one, that has a prominent position in the way innovation arrives at an implementable level.
There is also an additional dimension of innovation that is engraved through the design thinking process of approaching and implementing things, in minds of innovators themselves that is influenced by all the experiences that come their way through the process of innovation.
The neuroplasticity of the innovators’ brains is challenged in the undoubtedly beneficial way for thinking bigger and thinking bold, thinking that inspires, thinking that motivates, thinking that encourages commitment, wider views and stoic stability of thoughts closely aligned with EpictetusEpictetus way of living that inspired Albert Ellis to give the next generation this important tool for better living, cognitive behavioural therapy.
“You cant solve a problem on the same level that it was created. You have to rise above it to the level” (Albert Einstein).
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