Five Critical Mindsets of Innovation

As we embark on a new year, it's crucial for every team member to pursue novel avenues for growth and improved performance. In an era marked by rapid change and fierce competition, the difference between success and obsolescence is stark.

Companies such as Tesla, Amazon, Netflix, and Apple have soared to new heights, leaving behind the likes of Oldsmobile, Borders Books, Blockbuster, and PanAm as mere echoes of the past. Complacency in the face of success is a common pitfall for once-thriving enterprises. They stop evolving, cease to bring forth new ideas, and ultimately collapse. To sidestep this fate, we must harness our strongest asset: human ingenuity. It's the one resource that remains immune to outsourcing or automation and has become the bedrock of success.

But what mental models do the most prolific innovators share? How can we cultivate an environment that champions innovative thinking?

We are inherently designed to be inventive, yet many have dulled their imaginative edge over time. Fortunately, we all have access to a vast wellspring of creativity to energize our teams and enterprise. Our investigation into history's most inventive minds has revealed five fundamental attitudes that cut across industries, borders, and cultures. These principles are straightforward and can be integrated into your daily routine to spur growth and success:

Nurture Curiosity. Curiosity is the cornerstone of inventiveness. The more inquisitive you are, the more inventive you will be. Cultivate curiosity by asking more questions and withholding rapid judgements. Our world changes at unprecedented speeds, making reliance on past outcomes unreliable. Instead, take a moment to probe deeper with questions that start with “why”, “what if”, or “why not?” These inquiries push you to consider new possibilities and seek innovative solutions.

Anticipate the Future. Viewing success as a fixed state is a common precursor to downfall. Embrace change, welcoming new ideas over old habits. The risk of trying something novel is often overvalued, while the danger of stagnation is undervalued. Innovators have a voracious desire for the latest technology, trends, and concepts. They aim to lead, situated at the forefront of change, and are ready to exchange the old for the potential of the new.

Challenge Conventions. While family traditions may be cherished, professional conventions can spell disaster. Mindlessly following customary practices has led to the demise of numerous organizations and careers. When you notice routine methods at work, scrutinize them. What would a completely different approach look like? Don't change for change's sake, but critically assess your conventions to determine if they still serve their purpose. This is where true innovation is sparked.

Embrace Resourcefulness
. The ability to innovate is often mistakenly attributed to external factors like budget, personnel, or technology. In reality, innovation's essence is internal—composed of grit, determination, tenacity, and resilience. Startups often outmaneuver industry behemoths by being resourceful, finding clever, cost-effective solutions to problems. Rather than allocating more resources to an issue, apply your creativity. The outcomes are often superior.

Adjust Quickly. Innovation isn't a single stroke of genius but a process of continuous refinement. Early ideas are typically imperfect and only through a process of trial, error, and iteration do they improve. Relieve yourself of the pressure to devise a monumental invention. Instead, channel your inventive energy into small, swift, creative actions. Frequent, rapid ideation is often more critical than the strength of an initial concept. Test, learn, modify, and repeat.

Creativity is often perceived as innate, but studies indicate it's predominantly a learned skill. In other words, it’s a muscle that we can all develop to propel our teams and businesses forward. Push limits, stir things up, and explore new potentials. By weaving innovative practices into your daily activities, the rewards will be remarkable.

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