I was chatting with a VP of Sales recently and, when I mentioned innovation, he scoffed (yes, that’s a real reaction and not just one that gets used in English Lit books).
“My sales people don’t have time for that. What they know about ‘innovation’ is that they were promised a new product to sell months ago and it still isn’t delivered!”
A CEO I met with had a different, although equally disturbing, reaction. With a heavy sign she said, “I’m torn about asking for ideas from our employees. They’ll make suggestions that aren’t cost effective or feasible and then be frustrated when we don’t implement them. It’s a no-win situation.”
And so, that’s how innovation is being perceived by a lot of business leaders these days.
Leaders know deep down that they need to innovate but they can’t figure out if or how that fits into the business day to day.
The answer lies in one word – a word that I’ve just made up.
Of course, it’s just a combination of words. (You’re thinking I’m not so clever after all, right? Just hold on a minute and let me explain the genius of it!)
PART 1: INNOVATOR
The innovator is, at heart, a fixer. They’re an improver. They’re observant and determined not to settle for the status quo.
And so, this is the beginning of being a successful Innoventrepreneur. With an innovative mindset, you’ll be observant of what’s around you, find those moments of “UGH!” or “OH!” and see them for the opportunities that they are. You might even think about innovating right there and then BUT WAIT – THERE’S MORE!
PART 2: INVENTOR
It’s the inventor spirit that lets true creativity and ingenuity shine through. Inventors aren’t hampered by the past or chained to the status quo.
With an adventurous mindset, you’ll think outside this box and maybe even outside the entire box factory. You’ll try something new. Something other people might say is “crazy” or “hare-brained” but you’ll persevere and it could just payoff big time.
PART 3: ENTREPRENEUR
And speaking of payoff, we come to the most critical component of our INNOVENTREPRENEUR – the entrepreneur.
This is the part that’s missing when a CEO says her people are bringing ideas to the table that aren’t feasible or capable of delivering ROI. Those people innovated. They might have even gone so far as to invent. But what they didn’t do, was think like an entrepreneur who knows they have shrewdly assessed the value of everything that happens in their business.
The phrase “their business” is important because to an entrepreneur, every penny and every minute comes out of their pocket. They have a sense of ownership and responsibility.
If each person in the CEO’s business was thinking of their ideas like an entrepreneur, they’d be pre-vetting each idea before suggesting it. What would it cost? How much impact would it deliver? What would it take for us to deliver it? Is it WORTH IT?
If we’re honest, we know that very few employees in an organization have been taught to think like entrepreneurs and even fewer think that way when it comes to bringing new ideas and innovations to the business. But they can learn!
So, what about you? Are you bringing ideas to the table as an employee or are you delivering well spotted opportunities with creative solutions that deliver genuine and clear return on investment?
If it’s the latter, you’re an INNOVENTREPRENEUR and you should be wearing that badge proudly. In fact, drop me a note and I’ll send you one of the new t-shirts I’m thinking about making.
Here’s to a new year that’s full of INNOVENTREPRENEURING!