In a recent study, innovation was ranked a long-term challenge for driving business growth. It is a key talent needed at all levels of leadership, starting with the CEO. Despite its importance, innovation is a difficult quality to cultivate in both leaders and organizations. As a leader, what if you feel you’re not innovative?
Creating an innovative mindset takes work and may require some retraining, but anyone can innovate if they develop these core competencies:
Seek out innovative environments
Our environment plays a major part in developing our innovative characteristics. We can’t change the circumstances of our upbringing, but we do have a choice in the kinds of people with whom we associate and surround ourselves with today. Develop new friends who will truly nourish the desire to become more innovative in our thinking. Likewise, spend time with colleagues who possess high levels of innovative traits.
Observe and be curious
Innovative leaders score high in curiosity. They desire to know more and take the initiative to learn new information. They keep their skills and knowledge current to give them a competitive edge. Innovative leaders see possibilities everywhere and constantly add new information as they learn more. They are curious about other people and come up with many of their own innovative ideas as they observe others.
Pinpoint self-fulfilling prophecies
We all have self-limiting beliefs about ourselves that often lead to self-fulfilling prophecies about what we can and cannot achieve in life. We can place limitations around ourselves when we predict the outcome of a situation.
Shake things up
Innovative leaders scored 25% higher than non-innovative counterparts in managing risk. Innovation requires us to make something out of nothing. It requires the grit to keep working at something until you find a solution. When you shake things up and embrace risk, one of two things will happen: You will succeed at meeting your goal, or you will succeed in getting an education.
Innovative leaders take risks, and when they do, they seize opportunities. Because they are also careful observers, they change direction when the advantage becomes apparent. Innovative leaders can anticipate potential obstacles and are not surprised when they pop up. They are prepared for them and are able to pivot and move forward, without losing valuable momentum. Innovation is a mindset. As such, you work to create a mindset that seeks ways to move around obstacles.