A recent Linked In discussion asked that we finish the sentence, “Innovation is….”. Being a fan of alliteration and groups of three, I suggested the following:
Innovation is Inclusive, Inventive and Invigorating.
- Inclusive: If we limit participation or place constraints on the process, we limit our opportunities. This may be the biggest challenge in today’s workplace. Good leaders must balance communicating a vision with allowing space and opportunity for teams to opt into the vision. It takes sharing the passion, the ownership and the work to make ideas real.
- Inventive: An element of play is necessary to involve our creative mind. Just getting in a room and talking might be a good start, but we are active and visual creatures. Our minds are stimulated by novelty and playfulness. This is why “post-up” exercises and “gamification” are popular with Agile coaches. They encourage a different type of thinking and an easy way to juxtapose ideas. As Albert Einstein said, “Combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought.”
- Invigorating: If the solution is obvious and easy, it is likely not innovative. Being risky and different is part and parcel of innovation. That’s often messy and sometimes scary. But like riding a bike, it is worth it.