Innovation Is Not an Event!

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If you go back far enough into virtually any company's DNA, you'll find a foundation of innovation. Companies are born out of innovative ideas. But sometimes that innovative DNA gets lost, and innovation becomes nothing more than a sporadic event, a reaction. It's time to change that!

If you're a video person, I lay it all out in the video below. If reading is more your thing, skip the video and hop straight to the transcript below!

Hey there, Bill stainton here with Turning Creativity into Money™, and today I want to talk about a mistake I see a lot of companies make with regards to innovation, and it's this.

They treat innovation like an event.

You know, something happens: a challenge, an opportunity, something, and they say, "Okay, we need to be innovative—now." Like it's a toggle switch. Like it's something you turn on and off. Okay, innovation on. Innovation off, we don't need it now. Innovation on.

That's not how innovation works.

It's not, innovation is not an event; innovation is a process. It should be part of the DNA of a good organization, a good company, an innovative company.

And when you think about it, pretty much every single company was founded on that DNA of innovation. Any company you can think of was founded, the founder, came up with an innovative idea. And then he or she built a company around that idea. Every single company was founded on a sense of innovation.

But what happens over time? Well, eventually the founder dies. The company gets sold. Mergers happen. And over time that initial sense of innovation, that spark of innovation that built the company and that created the first success of that company, it gets dissipated in the ocean of business. It gets forgotten.

And that's a real shame because when you lose that sense of innovation, when you lose that DNA, you're losing the results that that DNA brings. You're losing the excitement, that sense of innovation that, that, that you can feel when you go into a younger company that's just buzzing with that.

And it doesn't have to end.

Years ago I worked for a television, for a broadcasting organization, called King Broadcasting. And the founder was an amazing woman named Dorothy Bullitt. When I first met her she was in her 90s, but she was coming to work every single day. And she was the founder. And there was a sense of electricity around, around the workplace because she was there, she was still alive, the ideas were still alive. That innovative DNA was still alive.

Well, eventually she passed on. The company got sold to another company, which got sold to another company, which got sold to another company.

Now if you go there you'd be hard-pressed to find anybody who even knew who Dorothy Bullitt was.

And that's a real shame, because that sense of vibrancy that came with her—even in her 90s—is lost. But it can be regained.

It can be regained in your organization, too. Get in touch with your org, with your, with your origin story for your company. Your company was founded on a creative, innovative idea. It might have been founded on that idea yesterday; it might have been 100, 200 years ago. But get in touch with that, and make sure that that story remains a part of the company's DNA.

Make it a part of new employee orientation. So that they know that sense: here is what we came from; here is the spark that gave birth to this, birth to this organization, and that spark is still alive, that spark is still there, that spark is still driving innovation, because here, innovation is not an event. It's baked in. It's part of our DNA. Do that, and you'll reap the rewards. Your employees will feel that sense of energy, and you'll see the results.

I'm Bill Stainton. I'll be back next time with more ideas of how you can Turn Creativity into Money™.


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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