Innovators Must Let It Go

As human beings, we crave stability and equilibrium. Like Aesop, we tend to believe that slow and steady wins the race.

For innovation, however, slow and steady does not win the race. Focused intensity does–like the martial arts expert breaking a stack of boards or bricks. Furthermore, change is fuel for the innovation engine. Innovators understand that stability and equilibrium are the path to the dark side.

Heraclitus, the ancient philosopher, was the teacher of change. He taught that everything is in flux.

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Innovation is Not Complicated

Everyone loves innovation. Everyone wants innovation. Nevertheless, innovation is elusive.

One reason why innovation is difficult is because of how it’s been defined. The word “innovation” means something to everyone. It’s become a buzzword, synonomous with “cool.” It’s come to mean everything, and nothing. If something isn’t clearly defined, how can you do it?

Ron Ashkenas, in a great article in Forbes entitled “It’s Time To Simplify Innovation,” explains that we need to:

  • Eliminate mission creep – have a clear definition.
  • Demystify the process – have a clear method.
  • Help managers enable a

Brainstorming: Friend or Foe?

We’ve all been there. The boss asks, “Who has a good idea?” A few vocal people speak up and dominate the discussion for most of the meeting, while the rest of the participants remain mostly quiet. Ideas are evaluated and rejected as soon as they are proposed. The meeting ends without an action plan, and nothing really happens afterwards. That’s a recipe for a disastrous and frustrating brainstorming session.

The practice of brainstorming has come under criticism lately, and rightly so.

David vs. Goliath Innovation Smackdown

“Small businesses are nimble and bold and can often teach much larger companies a thing or two about innovations that can change entire industries.” - Richard Branson

In an article for Entrepreneur magazine entitled “5 Ways Small Companies Can Out-Innovate Big Corporations,” Steve Sponseller demonstrates how innovation isn’t just for the big guys. In fact, smaller businesses may have the advantage when it comes to innovation.

According to Sponseller, the innovative advantages of small businesses include agility, responsiveness to opportunity, collaboration, alignment, and measurement.

Is English the Language of Innovation?

Mark Zuckerberg wowed his Chinese and Internet audiences when he addressed a group of students in Mandarin. That’s cool. It’s always great to see Americans who can speak more than one language.

In a recent article for the Harvard Business Review, Bill Fisher writes about “Why English, Not Mandarin, Is the Language of Innovation.”

Fisher outlines several reasons why English is widely accepted in business:

  • English is the language of the Internet
  • English is the international language of business
  • English is the basis for popular computer languages

In San Antonio, Spanish is spoken proudly.

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