Are you innovating enough?

innovation

Innovation. It’s all the rage. The word is everywhere you look – newspapers, magazines, blog posts, meetings and conversations.

Are we innovating enough? Can we be more innovative? How can we create more innovation?

It’s a challenge that business leaders love to throw at their teams.

It’s also a challenge that most of us face in our personal lives, perhaps even without realizing it.

And yet, we find ourselves falling short – in life and in business, on the innovation front. The reality is – it’s not easy!
Why is innovation so hard?

Not for the reasons we think. We often think that we’re not smart enough, creative enough or resourceful enough to come up with great new ideas.

Not true.

There’s nothing inherently different/better about the people who are in companies known for innovation vs. those who are in organizations that feel stale and stuck.

There’s nothing inherently different/better about those who live their lives with intention and creativity vs. those whose lives feel boring and blah.
But here’s what is different…

The people who innovate, the groups that innovate and the companies that innovate all have a system.

They have a system, a process and a place where innovation happens.

They stop wondering about whether they’re innovative enough, and different enough and smart enough.

They assume the answer is yes (it’s yes for all of us!) and just get down to it.

Most importantly, they know the answers to three important questions…

 

The 3 questions we must answer if we want to be innovative

When, where and how.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

I assure you, it’s not.

There’s nothing simple about carving out substantial time from your busy schedule.

There’s nothing simple about creating the physical, emotional and mental space that allows innovation to happen.

There’s nothing simple about getting out of your comfort zone.

 

And yet, they do it…

They answer the question of when. When will we regularly gather for the purpose of innovation?

They answer the question of where. On-site? Off-site? Same place every time, or different environments to help with new ideas?

They answer the question of how. This is the most complicated one, and innovators know that without the how – without the structure, process and facilitation – nothing will really happen.

 

An example

The executive masterminds/think tanks/peer groups (pick your word – I still don’t have one that I love) that I lead have all answered the questions of when, where and how.

These unbelievably busy business leaders have all decided that they will take one day a month and dedicate it to innovation. To learning, growing, stretching, coming up with new ideas and making commitments to try new things.

When? The third Wednesday of each month.

Where? Members take turns hosting, so we’re in a new creative environment (and learn about different businesses and cultures) every month.

How? Professionally facilitated, with expert speakers, designed exercises, issue and opportunity processing structure, and commitments to trying new things.

It’s a unique when, where and how. It’s different from other attempts to learn, grow and become more innovative. It’s different from attending a conference, or reading a great business book, or participating in a 6 week leadership program.

It’s a very thoughtfully structured when, where and how. It’s challenging, fun, supportive and ongoing. And it works.

 

Another example

A strategic planning session that turned into Team Fun. Yes, it actually was/is as great as it sounds. I was working with a company on improving their culture, engagement and retention of top talent, and we discovered that they weren’t having enough fun at work.

After two days of creating a serious strategic plan for the company’s growth, we all looked at each other and said, “This was actually fun!… Why don’t we have this much fun in other meetings?”

My answer? When, where and how.

Let’s make it happen, Team Fun! And so we did. We decided who would be on the team (mixture of senior leaders, middle managers and front line folks), when they would meet, where they would meet and how they would structure their meetings to keep driving great innovative ideas about bringing more fun into their company.

Two years later – it’s a whole new world there – filled with joy, creativity, friendship and exceptional work. They’ve exceeded all the targets they listed in their strategic plan.

 

And a final example

John and Jane (not their real names, of course) had a good enough marriage. They loved each other, had a great family and supported each others’ goals and dreams.

Life was good, but they both wanted more than good. They wanted great. So they decided to innovate.

They set up a regular time and structure where they would try new things. New foods, new sights, new activities, new people and new adventures.

One year into the experiment, they looked back on their innovation journey and agreed that it was one of the best things they had done for their relationship. They felt happier and more connected than they had been in years.

 

The thing about innovation…

It doesn’t just happen because we want it to happen.

It doesn’t just happen because we think it’s a good idea.

It doesn’t just happen because we talk about its importance.

 

The thing about innovation is that it really does need a when, where and how.

I know because I do this for a living. I help people innovate. Their businesses and their personal lives. I help them create the when, where and how.

And there’s nothing more thrilling than helping my clients and group members become better and better versions of themselves.

But I also know because I implement this in my own life. With structured sessions with my own peer groups, my own coach, and my own systems for generating new ideas, I’m able to be more innovative in my work and my life.

How about you? What’s your structure and plan for personal and professional innovation?

If you don’t currently have one, and wish you did, try answering the three questions – when, where and how – and see what you can come up with.

Featured On

featured on tv

Testimonials

Irina has a gift that few have – the ability to truly listen. She has an innate ability to respond to a client’s needs almost imperceptibly. She could tell immediately what kind of mood I was in, where my mind was and what I wanted and needed to focus on.
C.S., Writer
I had no idea how much I would benefit from coaching with Irina. Not only has my business improved, but I am a better husband, father and happier man, as a result of our work together. Her wisdom, support and consistent pushing in the right direction gave me exactly what I needed to reach my goals and create more balance, confidence and success. This is one of the best investments I have ever made. The ROI far exceeded my expectations!
R.F., Management Consultant
Irina is a soul-stirrer. She uses her coaching talents to motivate, inspire and support. She is genuine and generous – pure love. Cannot thank her enough…
A.W., Television News Anchor
Irina has truly helped me change my perspective and my approach to work and life. I have come to fully embrace the reality that I am the captain of my own ship and am now confidently charting a positive course forward. I really appreciated Irina’s warm, supportive, yet honest and assertive approach. I felt I was in very good hands throughout my time with her, and was able to quickly establish a deep level of trust with her. I highly recommend her as a coach!
T.D., Administration Director
Irina completely changed my life. She sets such high expectations for her clients that you won’t want to let her – or yourself – down. She opened me up to new perspectives, challenged me, and held me accountable until I started to take steps to live more intentionally. Thanks to Irina, I have gained such momentum that I will never stop!
J.L., Administrator
Irina’s upbeat personality is contagious. She’s smart and creative with her coaching, and expertly moves from playful to serious, with great results.
L.W., Pharmaceutical Sales Director
I’m finally understanding what I want and going after it! I feel empowered and productive in a way that I haven’t for a really long time. Thank you!!!
K.G., Healthcare executive
The skills I learned with Irina will be invaluable in nearly all aspects of my life, and I wish I had thought to engage in the process before things got out of control. Bottom line: no matter where you are or what’s going on, working with Irina will help you be more deliberate and empower you with the skills of resiliency, compassion and honesty you’ll need when life throws you for a loop.
I.M., Director & VP, Higher Education
More balance, more confidence, more financial success and better relationships… I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you!
J.T., VP of Financial Services Firm
Blowjob