Have you realized that there are many times when we don’t ask questions, however, the innovators, they’re good at asking questions! What makes them successful is that they won’t sit back. They’re willing to challenge the status quo. Creativity, intrapreneurship, and innovation are more likely to occur when individuals take the initiative to ask the questions, and when leaders take the opportunity to create a safe space for others to ask the questions. I studied several case studies, business innovators, and how they come up with new ideas. However, that is not quite enough and my journey continues. I learned that people can come up with great clues and ideas, however, they don’t know how to turn those into innovations. Furthermore, there is a lot of difference between creativity and innovation keeping aside the business aspects of scale and scope. Creativity can be your brilliance with colors on papers, however, innovation is taking that creative idea and turning it into a service/product that can be commercialized and at the same time solves a problem for the end-user. In this post, we are going to delve deeper into creative ideas and innovators’ mindsets. While I chase my sunshine to take my creative ideas and convert them into actual innovation that might succeed, I hope it can also help you to look at the bright side!
These days, one of the must-watch at my home is Shark Tank. While my husband and I, find some time from our packed schedule to hear out different pitches and enjoy different rebuttals, I can’t help to express how important innovation can be. All it takes is an innovative idea to disrupt the market! However, these ideas are very rare to find, that is why out of 50 entrepreneurs who come on the platform approximately only 10 receive funding. It is not only with Shark Tank as a platform, but a common phenomenon witnessed everywhere. While pursuing my MBA one of my favorite subjects was Design, Thinking, and Innovation as it urged us to question the traditional ways of thinking. I believe it’s only relevant to sum my learning here that can help many to find that novel idea that has the potential to shape the next 50 years in business. What I’ve learned is that we all can get better at coming up with new ideas.
There is just so much talk about ideas that can disrupt the market…I wondered who comes up with these ideas and how? Are these people different than the rest of us? Revisiting my school days, I thought of studying the business innovator and understanding from their tracks what triggers those multi-billion-dollar ideas. Although my research is still unfinished, over the course of a few months I have laid my hands on dozens and dozens of business case studies, understanding folks like Jeff Bezos, Marc Benioff, Jen Hyman, Michael Dell, etc what was that Eureka moment and what trigged that idea. What it helped me to comprehend is definite categories of triggers that can help one to find that idea. The captain of Salesforce.com talks about in his interview that he got triggered for the idea by asking the question, “why can’t I deliver software to customers the same way Amazon’s delivering product to customers over the internet”. Hence, questioning is one of the common triggers for many people to think out of the box and come up with new ideas. While if you follow, Mr. Bezos then it is evident that he is an observer. He is a person who pays tremendous attention to detail and observes to find out how can he do better. Looking at things from different perspectives can be a clue that can help you find your trigger. If you are like me, then you must already know about Jen Hyman. He was triggered while he was discussing with his sister about her dream to rent different designer dresses instead of purchasing them. Literally, I love the business idea of Rent the Runaway, renting a look for the event instead of purchasing it. So, networking with people, interacting with them, and understanding their pain areas can actually help you tap into the next multi-million-dollar business. Lastly, if you read about the business case of Dell Computers then it is quite evident that Michael Dell was experimenting, dismantling his computer, and then assembling it back together. He realized that he could actually purchase every part of the IBM computer and then assemble it together which would have sold for a much higher margin.
Well, what we learned is that there are four different ways or perhaps type of behavior that triggers new ideas. This is also referred to as Associational Thinking which essentially means connecting two different ideas which haven’t been put together before and letting the innovation foster! You know, I have a hunch that the future of HR will not be in service rather it will be building products. We HR can be underestimated for our business acumen and the value we bring to the table however with fluid dynamics in the picture, who knows, we could be one of the best product managers in the coming future. I know it sounds contrary to conventional wisdom today. Coming back to different categorizes of triggers based on behavior – Asking questions, Observing, interacting with others- networking, and of course, performing different experiments. If we can engage ourselves in these behaviors as a practice or perhaps more frequently then it’s more likely we can connect with the secret sauce of these business innovators.
Like the founder of Tesla, Elon Musk, once said, innovation and creativity take time and effort, so if you really want to come up with something that’s going to have a big impact then you have put in the required amount of labor. Probably we need to ask more questions, observe too often and interact with people with different experiences as well as backgrounds. This will make us someone who is more sound of her/his audience or perhaps help us identify the problem we need to solve. It’s not necessary that we should be good at all four of these behaviors rather we need to assess our strengths in these four categories. Some people are really comfortable networking while others feel that they will know better if they get their hands dirty and experiment. Hence, those are like “go-to” skills to get new ideas. Whenever you have a problem at hand these are your go-to skills to come up with solutions