Innovation is the thought process that allows us to come up with fresh solutions to regular problems. If we think about our day to day life, we do not innovate things quite often compared to the times we replicate existing solutions. Whereas certain contexts demand to possess a suite of skills that enable them to connect dots that the rest of us don’t usually perceive. So are these people to invent new things and ideas are innate with creativity and innovative mindset? Or with instruction, one can be enabled to be an innovator?
It is both. It turns out there are characteristics make people better or not so good innovators. Also, under the right creativity programs, innovators can be created by helping them to stimulate the thinking process.
Think like a child
Innovation is the ability to identify new or unexpected patterns and possibilities. Hence we often see children tend to be more creative than adults. How they see in things and explain complex matters is the result of certain traits they have and those also align with the characteristics of a fine innovator.
Curiosity- keeps the desire alive to know more and dig into matters help people to see things from different angles rather than jump into conclusion.
Questioning- allows to challenge the status quo and consider new possibilities.
Observation- helps detect small details, activities and suggest new ways of doing the thing. Not to bound by rules- avoidance of rules helps concentrate more on solving problems and be innovative when they don’t feel constrained by rules and restrictions.
We are what we do frequently
It is in our nature that things we do in our everyday life in well-trodden pathways start controlling how we think. This is why there are people who seem to have their thoughts gravitate to the tried and true, outmoded, and familiar way. However, people who think a certain way can learn to become more innovative if they are put in the right condition. As the Dutch visionary Alexander den Heijer observed, “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.” Similarly fostering innovation is not only about providing aid and tools. Not from sitting in a lecture, but by learning and applying creative thinking processes.
Innovation demands a set up where new ideas are welcome and explored. Training programs on innovation are supposed to enable minds to think outside the box and find new, effective and timely solutions. However, it is a state of mind that can only be perused by those who yearn to be innovative. As Professor and Researcher Ian McCarthy rightly said on this topic- “If you believe music can be taught, sports can be taught, then the same logic applies to business schools and innovation.”