I love thinking of ways I can better serve my clients, build my business, and pursue my passion project, Carearing. But it's not always as easy as sitting down and making it happen. When you talk to people about innovation, it's either referred to in a reverent, mythical way or the person you're speaking with rolls their eyes because the term has become so overused it has lost its meaning.
That's why a recent interview on my podcast - Carearing, VP of Innovation for Territory Global, has me thinking about the ways we make room for innovation and how it can complement so many areas in our lives.
Below are five ideas to shake up your routine and make room to innovate!
Natalie believes one of the greatest game changers for her when it comes to innovation and time for free thinking is taking the first hour of her morning back. She does not touch social channels first thing and holds the news for later in the morning. In this way, her early hours are spent creating, dreaming, and innovating.
This type of Zen time doesn't have to be in one specific space. It can be on your run, at the gym, or as you sit on your back porch with your morning coffee. What it does have to be is scheduled.
One of the most significant issues we fall into when creating, especially as women, is thinking big picture. Take your next project and break it into small, daily, manageable bites. Saying "I am going to research whether a product like this exists today," will work better than "I am going to reach 1,000 users in my first month."
If something feels too large to accomplish, it's easy to take your foot off of the gas and not do anything at all. That's why innovators become crystal clear on where they want to go but then set manageable, daily tasks to get there. The key here is small, but important, daily steps.
A shocking statistic Natalie shared with listeners during our interview was the fact that men apply for jobs when they meet 60% of the hiring criteria, and women wait until we meet 100%. Add to this statistic, a few from a recent LinkedIn study show that women are 16% less likely than men to apply for a job after viewing it and apply for 20% fewer jobs than men. The study also notes that women are less likely than men to ask for a referral from their personal network.
Ladies! Most of the time, we are more than ready before we are willing to jump in. Natalie says it succinctly when she states, "Your fear of not creating needs to be greater than your fear of failure." Take the leap! Based on the above stats, we are all MORE than ready!
Often when Natalie works with innovative executives, their first question is, "Are we ready to produce this product?" She helps them reframe this idea by asking whether their team is healthy. If your team can't get along, you aren't going to grow.
Next time you are ready to launch that next project, debut a new feature, jump into a different market channel, stop, assess, determine your team's health, and then move forward accordingly. You'd be amazed at how appreciated personality tests like Myer Briggs are by most employees. Once your team members feel fully understood and bring that understanding to the group, you are ready to jump in and innovate with gusto!
I joke that I am excellent at failing quickly, but it truly is a honed skill in some ways. I recently read the book, Designing Your Life, and the authors talk about not thinking of failures as failures, but rather as prototypes that lead you where you are not supposed to go.
The idea is you do your research, conduct informational interviews, try a few small tests, and then recalibrate. I love the idea of reframing "failing" as prototyping. It opens the door to exploration without all of the heaviness of finding the right path out of the gate. Imagine if all of your employees prototyped their way through – the possibilities of what you might find are endless!
As an industry, and as individuals, we desperately need to bring innovation back to the forefront and use this time to create like we never have before. Ditch the worries of failure, know that you are more than ready, assess the health of your team and …. Jump!
Laurie Halter is the Founder of Charisma! Communications, a successful automotive PR firm, and host of the Carearing podcast where she explores work/life balance issues for leading females. She has a passion for business and entrepreneurship, but what really gets her jumping out of bed in the morning is sharing her experience balancing life, work, and motherhood.
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