Creating an innovative business starts with leadership. The type of leadership that creates a greater difference, generates more possibilities in business, in people’s lives, and in the world. This type of leadership is benevolent leadership. Where you create business for the good of all. To be innovative you must be unconventional, otherwise you will be stuck deep in the limitations of what already exists.
How do you create innovation?
- Go Beyond The Norm
True innovation doesn’t just solve a problem; it addresses significant societal and environmental needs before they become problems. To be truly innovative, you need to use your awareness of the future. What unlimited possibilities can you perceive that can create a sustainable future for your business and the world?
The most successful inventors, authors, pioneers, designers and entrepreneurs tap into future possibilities rather than creating from the past or what already exists. Expanding your zone of awareness into the future energizes possibilities and gives you the power to shape your future in dynamic ways. You are connected to everything when you are being aware.
- Be Present
Being present is the willingness to not cut off anything you are capable of. It is the choice to embrace everything that is possible. It is having total presence with all choices and trusting your awareness in knowing what to choose. An innovative leader will receive all information, even if it doesn’t match what they currently know.
In receiving everything, you connect the dots in unexpected ways. It is only in excluding certain information or people from your world that you cut off your capacity for innovation. Being present is about having non-stop curiosity. Curiosity drives innovation. Being the expert and having to always live up to that label limits innovation.
- Give Up Judgment
Judgment is another word for the assumptions, conclusions and computations you make about what is right and what is wrong. Judgment excludes awareness and fixes in place erroneous points of view that stop innovation from occurring.
To discover different possibilities, valuable opportunities and unexpected ways of moving forward you must remove yourself from the daily grind of ‘that’s how we do things around here.’ A culture of innovation starts with questions, not conclusions and judgments that perpetuate old paradigms and predictable habits. What questions can you ask? Start with these:
- “What do we know that we have not acknowledged that we know?”
- “If ________ (e.g. money, time, resources etc.) was not the issue, what would we choose?”
- “Are we maximizing possibilities or maximizing profit? What would it take to maximize both?”
- Relinquish ‘Either/Or’ Thinking
There is no contradiction between creating a sustainable future and creating success if you choose to innovate beyond apparent conflicts. The most effective strategic innovation embraces paradoxes and conflictual paradigms and allows them to co-exist. There is elegance to innovation that occurs when your target is to exert the least amount of effort to create the greatest result.
When you ask, “What would we have to be or do different to have all choices available?” your team will begin creating beyond the limits of their thinking. Ask, “What difference can we make that no one else can?” to explore what is beyond your surface level competitive advantages.
If you ask, “What would it look like if we created ________ and ________?” your awareness of possibilities expands. Delete ‘that won’t work’ from your vocabulary and ask the questions that will show you the possibilities that no one else is aware of.
Creating innovation is about creating a culture of questions, choices, possibilities and then allowing the contribution of these very different points of view to come to fruition. Innovation thrives when benevolent leaders are flexible, vision-driven and future-aware.
Business innovator, investor, author, antique store owner and breeder of Costa Rican horses, Gary Douglas lives life to the fullest. He is the founder of Access Consciousness®, a personal development modality that has helped thousands worldwide by giving them tools to create change in all aspects of life – from addiction, recovery, weight loss, business, money, health, relationships and creativity. The Access tools are now offered in 173 countries. Gary is regularly featured in the international media as a thought leader in business.