Innovation Takes Work

Successful organizations don’t repeat themselves— continued success depends on innovation, and innovation is hard work. Step up to the challenge by keeping these common misconceptions in check:

  • Creativity should always be fun.” People frequently expect brainstorming sessions and creative exercise to be relaxed, low-pressure affairs. But innovation calls for hard questions and tough answers to find out why previous attempts at innovation didn’t work. The process can be fulfilling, but it won’t always be painless.
  • There are no bad ideas.Brainstorming can be a useful exercise, but in reality, many — if not most— of the ideas you generate, won’t work. Be prepared for that, and make sure everyone understands that honesty in evaluating ideas is important. Don’t rush to snap judgments, but don’t waste time when it becomes clear that an idea isn’t going to work.
  • Innovation is entrepreneurial.Many of today’s most famous entrepreneurs got their start with an innovative idea but successful entrepreneurs possess a variety of management skills that go far beyond innovation. You need people who are more interested in solving problems than starting a new division.
  • Creativity is all you need.Instead of looking for radically new processes or products, your best bet may be to improve what already works for you. Innovative ideas may spring from unexpected sources when you’re not even looking for them. Focus on what will help your organization grow, and be open to innovation without necessarily trying to force it.
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