Innovation – Mandatory For Solving Future Problems?

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I’ve had a sudden interest in the word “Innovation” ever since I was accepted to currently attend Stanford University’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship Professional Certificate Program just a couple of months ago. I had applied to the program a while ago, filled out some forms, did a couple of tests, wrote a couple of essays and received the acceptance letter several weeks after applying. I was thrilled and excited to be part of a high-caliber university and began my journey to understand Innovation.

Throughout the past, I’ve never studied Innovation nor dug out its essence because I’ve always correlated the word Innovation with Invention. I thought they sounded similar so I figured they just meant the same. And you’ve guessed it, I was completely wrong as Innovation is completely different than Invention.

Below is the simple definition of the difference between Innovation and Invention:

Invention is the “creation of a product or introduction of a process for the first time.” Thomas Edison was an inventor.

Innovation happens when someone “improves on or makes a significant contribution” to something that has already been invented. Steve Jobs was an innovator.

We can see that by improving something that has already been invented, Innovation drives the creation of new companies, new jobs, improves efficiency, effectiveness and improves the quality of products and services.

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Then I start thinking, how does this relate to your own current job and your ability to innovate within your own company. How will Innovation make an impact to your job and impact your company better. How are you going to find new improved ways of doing things. How will you improve going forward and turn that “status quo” statue into a living-breathing organism that will move, run, and decide. These are the things that Innovation can answer whether that be improving the many processes that exist within the company, the bravery to create significant change, to define precisely what the issues are instead of guessing based on no data and calling it concrete and lastly by moving forward as a growing company.

Below are some of the questions that can be answered through Innovation for your company.

1) How do you make your employees have the mindset of always “over-delivering” against their own compensation they are receiving.

2) How do you make your employees have a service mindset. Meaning servicing their own colleagues, servicing their team mates, servicing their clients. How do you make subordinates have the mindset of servicing their boss and bosses servicing their subordinates.

3) How do you make your company be a learning organization, where every single employee is truly motivated and hungry for an improved self and an improved way of doing things?

4) How do you implant the mindset to your employees that this company as if it is their own company. If they don’t do things right, the company will fall. How do you make your sales people think, “If I don’t sell this, my family won’t eat tonight.” How do you make your operational people think, “If I don’t improve this by doing it continually better, my family won’t eat tonight.” How do you make your Finance people say, If I don’t save this much money or advise my company on future financial decision making, my family won’t eat tonight.

5) How do you build solid communication amongst teams for effective productivity.

6) How do you retain the highest talent and remove those slowing down the company.

7) How can your decisions guard quality across the board and sustain it.

8) How can you make your company increase the bottom line.

9) How do you beat the competition.

10) How do you have long term die hard fans (customers) for your brand.

These are some of the questions that can drive Innovation in your company.