Innovation is a top priority for leadership, as expressed in the recent IBM global CEO study. It sounds great to us when we hear our leaders express the need to innovate, but what do they really mean? The definition of innovation—something fresh or new that we value—can only take our understanding so far. Here are some practical interpretations and examples of what they may be referring to when they express the need for innovation. Hope that a few of these translations may relate to your workplace:
- fresh marketing approach that helps grow our customer base (value)
- fresh process that saves us time (value)
- fresh products that help us grow revenue (value)
- fresh line of services that customers appreciate (value)
- fresh way to collaborate that saves time and helps us communicate better (value)
- fresh technology to help us be more productive and organized (value)
- fresh thinking that challenges the status quo and helps us think of new profit potentials (value)
- fresh talent that comes up with new and valuable ideas more often than those comfortable with the status quo.
The reality is that innovation is broad and it must be narrowed to have meaningful action.
Leadership often expresses the need to innovate because they are interested in new value creation. When they express the need to innovate, it’s important to delve into specifics and translate their feelings associated with innovation into something tangible. Otherwise, using the word innovation may sound good, but it can be interpreted as… jibberish.