What is the right mindset for innovation?
“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right.” Henry Ford
When I work with clients in the field of innovation, they often come to me before we even start the sessions to tell me in a very apologetic way that they are not really innovators. Or that they have tried very hard but it's just tough for them to be creative. Another common statement is, Well I was told I have to do this thing so I guess I have to, but it's really not my thing.
Once we start working on our sessions or projects they begin to get frustrated and sometimes even feel disappointed and dissatisfied with their ideas or possible solutions. And, naturally, their question to me is "What am I missing? Why is this so hard? Why can't I come up with something?"
Well... that is my cue to step in as a good coach and facilitator and have a chat with them about one of the key ingredients in the recipe for innovation.
The right Mindset
"This is so stupid. What's the point? Design thinking? Really? We are here to create a solution, not to play games. People don't know what they want, that is why we are the experts. I know how to do this, I don't need a new way. This is never going to work."
If you show up with the mentality described above, how do you think you can innovate, be creative or think without constraints? Even more important, why would the team want to work with you and be collaborative? Why would they want to share any ideas? Let's be honest; when was the last time we were oh so happy to be working with that team member who hates processes, hates new ideas, thinks they already know everything and/or just don't want to be there? From my side, never.
If you want to be creative, innovative and make the most of your time with your team, check your negative mindset at the door.
What should you pack in the mindset suitcase? Well, let's see:
An open mind. With it comes an open ear, open eyes and an open heart. This openness will help you to hear new ideas, see new opportunities and possibilities and listen to the customers and your team members with more empathy.
A willingness to embrace uncertainty. Most of us prefer to know what will happen, where we are headed and what we will create. To create something innovative, however, you first need to embrace that you have no idea what that solution will look like in detail or even at all. You need to be ready to accept changes, several changes. Show up without knowing what customers might say about your proposed product or solution and embrace that, as it is the door to even more possibilities.
Your inner child. Bring the mindset of your inner child. Remember the child that used to play with that small car and would be chased toward the sofa by a friend, brother or cousin, and suddenly, that car had nowhere to go? Remember what would happen? How the child would suddenly raise the car and proclaim that “ the car has wings and it can fly.” Yes! That’s the mindset -- the one that sees nothing as impossible and always finds a way out. Bring that!
Once you show up and unpack your right-mindset suitcase, you are headed in the right direction to innovate.
How do I maintain that mindset?
Yes, the next question, once you already know the what is the how? Well, to maintain this mindset you will need to develop your self-awareness and show up fully present. Doing so allows you to recognize when your mindset is shifting to an old habitual mode, shutting down to new ideas or shutting down other people's ideas. Self-awareness will let you know when you are stepping out of your comfort zone and will give you a chance to decide how far out you will allow yourself to move. Self-awareness will take you further than you ever thought and soon you will start creating ideas and solutions you never even imagined.
Self-work: Time to reflect and grow
Now that you have identified what innovation means to you - it is time to go deeper. Take these questions and reflect on them. Remember to journal and feel free to share in the comments section, let’s make this a dialogue.
What mindset do you usually bring to the table when it is time to innovate, when you look at challenges or problems?
How often do you allow your inner child to show up and play?
What is your current relationship or feeling toward uncertainty?
How well do you know yourself? On a scale from one to 10 (1 = no self-awareness; 10 = fully self-aware), where is your self-awareness?
If you are an innovator or you are interested in the topic of Innovation and would like to work with us, give me a shout.
Until next time!
Your Innovision Coach