Innovation Is Not Work! Innovation Is A Lifestyle!
What I Was Doing…
This week, as I turned a year older I realized something. In the past year, I have grown ten years wiser! I asked myself why I felt this way. Was it because of something that took place in my personal life? Was it the result of something that happened to me professionally? Could it have just been life itself? The answer is YES – to all of the above!!
It was exactly one year ago this week that I walked into a new job with one of the best people I have had the pleasure to know in my life. We had an enormous challenge before us – but we never doubted our ability to get the job done. We met and worked with talented, dynamic and compassionate individuals. In the course of that experience, so many lives and an incredible business were transformed.
One of the things that made this experience so exciting for me was that my leader, my friend, trusted me and allowed me to move in a direction that I had always wanted to go. We were able to focus on transforming a culture and a business model. But the coolest part was witnessing the people transform and take flight – how innovation became part of their creative DNA.
Over the past year, I have learned more about who I am and what I want to do. Most importantly, I know what I do not want to do. I have learned the type of leaders I like to be around, and the kind of teams I like to be a part of – ones with:
The Spirit To Learn!
The Spirit To Fail!
The Spirit to Live Life Fully!
I witnessed people achieve what they did not imagine they could achieve. I saw them take flight when they did not believe they even knew how to fly. Together, we built a model of innovation that allowed us to not only do it as a job, but to live it, breath it, and have fun with it.
What I Learned…
I want to focus on my learnings on how we measure success in innovation and the impact it has on teams. Just recently I stumbled across another innovator, Adam Malofsky , who has written on the subject of innovation as a lifestyle. The cool thing is that he lives close to me. In his article, Innovation is a lifestyle, not a bunch of metrics, Adam shared an article in Forbes about innovation metrics. The industry is caught up on ROI (Return On Investment) but not on ROI (Return On Innovation). The metrics around these two ROI’s are very different. Return on investment is all about the money. Return on Innovation is all about the people, the process, what you have learned, and sometimes about the money.
Now do not get me wrong. I started my journey as a corporate finance person. I understand the impacts to the bottom line or the top line. However, in innovation, this cannot be the primary focus – or you put shackles and chains on the innovators within your organization.
“I see innovation as a lifestyle. If you’re not doing it 100% of the time, as a part of your body and soul, it’s hard to be truly innovative.” ~ Adam Malofsky
Yes, and Amen! When you are a leader of innovation, you have to provide space for people to breathe, for them to explore what change looks and feels like. I use to believe that everyone could be an innovator. Here is what I believe now: Everyone has the ability to learn the process of innovation, but not everyone is an innovator at heart!
What I Will Do…
Over the next year, I am going to focus on living out Innovation as a Lifestyle! I will not focus solely on the business or the situation, but rather on the why we are doing what we are doing. As a leader, I am going to unleash the power of yes in innovation by equipping my team and my client’s teams to envision and do things they may not believe possible.
In his post, Adam went on to say, “Innovation is not a program. It’s a life-long enterprise. It’s a lifestyle.” I could not agree more with him. Innovation has changed my life; it drives who I am today as a man, father, husband, and businessman.
What You Can Do…
If you are an innovator – a person that believes wholeheartedly that innovation is a lifestyle – I encourage you to take time this week to focus and declutter the obstacles in your life or work that are preventing you from living an innovation driven life. I know, it may not be easy, but get back to the things you love. Do what you do best!
Remember, Innovation is not work – Innovation is a lifestyle!
I would love to share your story on the POWER OF YES in INNOVATION in my upcoming book! Send me an email with your story.