I’m sure you’ve heard how valuable innovation is, as a driver of growth, to the future of your company, so if it’s germane to your business, then it’s meaningful to your career success.
Innovation is so imperative, as a matter of fact, that according to a new report from the World Economic Forum, it is clear that creativity at work is going to be one of the most important and in-demand skills in the next 5 years. And, only one in 10 hiring managers say their employees excel at innovation, yet 49 percent see innovation as a very important employee trait.
How do you reflect innovation in your work?
There are two notable types of innovative activities you can focus on:
- Conceptualizing new products and services that have never existed before and;
- Incremental problem-solving improvements and/or expanding current products and services.
As it turns out, the first is the lifeblood of a company as it accounts for the largest increase to a company’s bottom-line. A glorious example of innovation changing the course of a company is Apple’s iPod introduced in 2001, which dramatically turned around the company’s future—going from three consecutive negative quarterly earnings reports to 15 years of staggering profitability.
And yes, never doubt you’re the most capable person to recognize product problems and/or improvements well before anyone else even has a whiff of the issue because it is happening in your slice of the company. Sidney Yoshida verifies how critical you are at solving problems in his study of mid-sized companies, where he finds employees performing the work know 100% of the problems that impact their field of responsibility.
Let’s explore what will support you and this new attitude. It starts by priming the pump with curiosity. Ask yourself the following:
- How can I change my slice of the world for the better?
- What solutions can I delve into that will make my part of the company produce better products or services?
- What repetitive breakdowns do I see occurring within my business? What can I do to correct them?
- What is causing my customers to complain? What would be a reasonable fix?
- What new creative opportunities do I see within my department?
- What do I see as the biggest dilemmas my business is facing? What might be some ideas or methods to mitigate the concerns?
- How will I align these future ideas for new and/or improved processes, product/services within my company?
You now have a bunch of ideas floating around in your head.
Let’s personalize them. You see when you come up with the ideas yourself, you get to spend time in the playground that offers the most fun and abundant opportunities—for you!—and then, also benefits your company.
So how do you choose?
- Explore doing something only you can do.
- Look into parts of the business that you have a natural aptitude for and that you find intriguing and fun. This self-creation dynamic is essential. After all, why work on something that isn’t of interest to you since you’re initiating the project and it’s your playground?
- Then, don’t forget to align all of the possibilities with your company’s strategic direction and/or improving the bottom-line.
When you start relating to your work from this frame of reference, you’re not simply thinking outside the box—you’re expanding the box. Open your creative juices to allow revolutionary ideas to emerge. There’s nothing better for accelerating your career opportunities than to set you apart from the crowd with concepts that add money to the coffer!