Innovation is an inherently emergent process. It’s not just about where we want to end up; it’s highly dependent on where we are. Where we begin has a profound impact on where we can go.
If we want sustained robust innovation in our companies and economies, at the very least we need to stop treating our creativity like something with an on/off switch. We need to recognize creativity as the sustained cognitive function it is and the sustained business function it needs to become…always on.
On this Independence Day here in the U.S. there is perhaps no more appropriate time to be writing about innovation. Our founding fathers (and less-credited founding mothers) were unquestionably among the greatest innovators of all time.
People in the wrong frame of mind can undermine even the most thoughtfully designed innovation processes. Folks in the right frame of mind can overcome many imperfections in those processes. Systems and processes are important in business, but they’re no substitute for enhancing the way people think.
One of the central challenges innovators manage to overcome is the tendency to cling to past assumptions and beliefs and orthodoxies. Being willing and able to escape that mental inertia is one of the things that most distinguishes innovators. They’re skilled uinlearners.
Mindset may the most overlooked strategic issue in business today. Getting yourself and your people into the right frame of mind is becoming a crucial determinant of competitiveness, thanks to two huge business trends.
What would it do to your company to have to ask permission from the government before anything could change? Yet isn’t that what large corporations routinely require of business units and employees? Do you think maybe it has the same effect?