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When most people think of innovation, a quirky new product or a deal on Shark Tank might come to mind. A guy (or girl) in converse and a ripped shirt, working out of their basement all hours of the night. This can be what innovation looks like for some people but not for the majority.

First, let’s define what innovation is. It’s the process of translating an idea or invention into a product or service that creates value that people pay for. In business, though, there doesn’t have to be a lightbulb moment.

As managers and creatives, we tend to put too much pressure on ourselves for our ideas to be cutting-edge or outside of the box. The problem with this is then we stay in our comfort zone, not creating or developing anything.

Don’t overcomplicate innovation – you don’t need a big idea


In business, innovation can be as simple as adding a new feature to a service. You might experience a cool approach to customer service from a different industry and apply it to yours.


Ask questions like:

  • What’s your vision for the future?
  • What are the key trends that are impacting your industry?
  • How are competitors going? What are we doing that they aren’t?
  • When were you last impressed by a product or service? And, why?
  • What are the common problems that keep coming up?


These types of points are good to go through as a company but also at a personal level. Innovation can happen in your employees, too. This is where company culture comes in. The best ideas don’t often happen under pressure, chained to a desk. They come sitting in the park or singing in the shower.

To innovate, personally or as company, you need to let go of preconceived notions about what will work and what won’t. Encouraging innovation could be as simple as creating space for the minds of creatives to wander.

Make sure your team feels safe. There needs to be trust, non-business conversations, and the knowledge that if they ‘fail’, it’s okay. It’s just growing pain. Innovation is a cultural issue, not one of a lack of creativity or risk-taking mindsets.

Foster the environment first and the ideas will come. So, forget about the actual thing that will be created and build the culture, the leaders, the advocates, the game-changers.

Make it easy to test new ideas. Build a culture of experimentation. Focus on your customers. Hold hackathons. There’s a lot of things you can do. 

Start developing your innovation mindset. Get your team to do a personality questionnaire to get on the right track, based on the way they approach things. Your people are what make you unique and innately innovative. 

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