Do we have to innovate?

Life is flowing, and the needs are certainly created. We don’t have to create needs, we don’t have to create opportunities, we don’t have to innovate new things … the life is “proactive innovator” by itself.

Standard innovation expectation is that wait for a good idea to be presented. The technique is a suggestion box or an email address. The organization expects ideas to be sent in and then reacts to those it considers good ideas to invest.

However, proactive innovation is an approach that constantly listen to the life to find great ideas and to sponsor ideas.

It is a magic behavior, just listen the life

Whatever you are doing -in your private life or in your business life- life is always telling you “something” or putting “something” in front of you. This something can be seen good or bad. Whatever it looks like, each “thing” gives you a change message (or opportunity) to enhance your life, to enhance your career, to enhance your product, to enhance your project …

So, for an organization (like TDG or any others) just starting on an innovation path, I strongly suggest starting with a “proactive” approach. This means creating a few well-defined problems, challenges or opportunities and creating a brainstorm or other method to submit ideas based on these defined challenges. Everybody in the organization needs to listen the life. The context helps them understand what kind of ideas your firm needs, draws bright lines to help direct scope and thinking, and demonstrates how the ideas will be used – showing that they have value. Actively seeking ideas early in the process demonstrates commitment to the innovation process as well.

Once these mutual organizational behavior is up and running, the firm has set an expectation for innovation and demonstrated how those ideas are used. A suggestion box (or an e-mail) allows individuals to report and capture ideas of any form or type, without management’s direction to solve a specific challenge or opportunity. This means that in a reactive mode, ideas will vary widely and will need more time for review and contemplation. A suggestion box is best used once the firm has some experience with proactive innovation techniques, so the organization begins to understand how to generate and submit ideas and make it happen.

Clearly there are other aspects of proactive innovation. Other factors include:

  • Communication and expectation – what do we expect to happen in our firm based on the innovation approach?
  • Investment – proactive means taking action before the first idea is generated. How do we invest in these programs and how do we fund them?
  • Compensation/Motivation – it’s much simpler to demonstrate that management is involved and committed to a proactive innovation approach.

Do we have to innovate really?

The answer is;

You don’t have to push yourself to innovate. But, you have to listen your life, you will innovate proactively on behalf of your life indeed….

My Best Wishes

Batur Erdogan