Have You Experienced Innovation?

Are You Experienced?

The saying is “the first lie is the hardest” and after this other lies come easier.

Now, I am NOT advocating for lying, but innovative thinking can be compared to lying because the more you practice thinking and acting innovatively, the easier it will be to apply it in everyday business life.

Don’t just talk about innovation. Get started on experiencing innovation. Once you have experienced innovation, you will become a believer, a practitioner and more innovative thinker.  You will be more generative in your thinking, ask the more expansive questions that lead to innovation, and won’t just be satisfied with using the first solution you or the group proposes. Anyone, yes you, can be more innovative every day!  As with many things that are worth doing, the hardest thing is getting started.

The best part about experiencing innovation is that you need no one’s permission to begin!

How Do You Begin to Experience Innovation?

Begin experiencing innovation with these five quick-start steps.

5 Innovation Experience Steps          Description
1. Create a professional VISION of something YOU ARE NOT today.
  • Use lots of adjectives to describe your professional vision and make it a BIG stretch for you. The vision should be you one to three years out.
  • With whom will you be spending time?
  • What do you want to be doing? What do you want be talking, speaking, writing about?
  • Example: I wouldn’t make this title/role based but more outcome-based, for example: “I want to be seen as an expert in XYZ in my industry, my company, my area of practice.”
2. Name something NEW you are professionally SCARED to do.
  • This is dependent on how much you want to stretch yourself. Only you can determine where you need to grow the most.
  • Don’t pick easy stuff that doesn’t challenge you. Pick something new that you’ve never done before.
  • These things should challenge you and be directionally correct and in line with your vision.
3. Identify something in business you are CURIOUS about and would like to EXPLORE.
  • Again, these things are dependent on you.
  • These should challenge and expand you and be directionally correct and in-line with your vision.
4. Find a colleague, a mentor, a coach, a peer group, a community to SUPPORT your thinking and ideas on your professional journey.
  • Join a group or hang out with people who will challenge you to think bigger.
  • Be with people who are talking about the topics that you are interested in and share your thought leadership with each other.
  • Hire a coach or mentor to assist you in this process of transformation because you’ll need help to keep you slogging through the skills you uncovered that you need to develop.
5.     Now, START STEPS 1-4 !!
  • As you learn and iterate through these processes, ask yourself two very important innovation questions:

(1) What am I learning that…I DIDN’T         KNOW I AM GOOD AT?

(2) What am I learning that…I DIDN’T KNOW I AM NOT GOOD AT?

How Do I Know These Innovation Experience Steps Work?

This past year has been quite the journey of professional innovation for me. The only difference is that I did the above steps in an immersive, intense, very focused way.

I knew I wanted to grow my business to a new level and do things differently going forward. I had to think differently and taking an innovative approach was the best way.  I created my new vision first and then began exploring and trying new things to expand my business world perspectives. I looked around my business “innovation ecosystem”. (This is a widely used innovation concept that is used to describe the large number and diverse nature of participants and resources that are necessary for innovation.)

The only difference to the above five quick-start professional innovation steps, I didn’t start exploring ONE new thing.  I started with about 25 new activities that stretched me beyond my comfort zones. This expansion beyond your comfort zones and connecting new ideas together is a critical principle when companies or individuals are trying to innovate.

In the process of exploring, I created and changed many:

1) Habits

2) Behaviors

3) Beliefs

4) Skills

5) Mindsets

These five psychological aspects and processes don’t change easily. It’s hard work and it was a transformative experience. I explored and pushed my boundaries so much that I now have my own saying (which is better than the “lying” adage referenced above):

“If you aren’t uncomfortable, you aren’t innovating.”~ Amy Kelling, 2018

(Note: the best consultants have to push themselves to grow and promote themselves to the next level.  Choosing to change is the highest level of self-motivation. This is change initiated from the inside versus waiting for external drivers to force change.)

If you want to know more about the specifics of my experience, let’s talk. However, I think the most important innovation messages of this piece are these:

  1. Innovation is something everyone can experience…you just have to start!
  2. You can be as aggressive as you want in moving toward your vision…Do one new thing or do 25!  
  3. One day, you won’t remember a time you didn’t think and act innovatively as second nature.
  4. Innovation is an absolute necessity for business GROWTH. (Companies, no matter how large or small, cannot rest on comfortable plateaus because over time (and less time than you think) your company will cease to grow, profits will erode, you risk disruption, and ultimately risk extinction!)

Your Call to Action: Take the 5 step innovation challenge steps and begin your innovation experience TODAY!



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