It is at this time of year that people reminisce about the year that has been and the new one that is approaching. What we do personally, we also take into our work, and in both “worlds”, a change is only made when we take action on those thoughts.

And if you were wondering where the link to innovation was, here it comes…

…”change that makes a positive impact” is a pretty good definition of innovation.

So with the link to innovation made, how can you increase the chances of having a “most innovative year?” Here’s some ways that can help you and your organisation be brilliantly innovative.

1. Have More Pride
excuses imageEvery organisation exists to serve customers or clients, whether they pay for it or not. And we know things
could be done better, but it is just too hard to change. Well is it? Nobody is saying it is easy, but surely you could bring some improvement somewhere? It is a sure sign of a lack of care if you don’t try to make things better.

When you care about how you are perceived, you begin to act differently; you care. If you can’t take pride in what you do, then you have a great opportunity to find something where you can do something that “will make you feel proud.” (Thanks Heather Small!)

2. Set Challenging Challenges
So things are pretty good, customers are happy, bosses are happy – great stuff. However, you know it is not perfect, and you want it to improve without making people feel battered. Set a challenge to your team. Urge them to be the best, or if they are the best, to be the best ever!

I heard about a senior IT exec who set a challenge to his region to cut the time it took to do stuff by 50% (and they were pretty lean already). His people rose to the challenge and managed to reduce the time tasks took, and overall, they saved 20% of time. So they didn’t hit the challenge target, but by aiming high, the department was able to realise some serious benefit that was thought to be out of reach. Oh, and it was seriously celebrated!

3. Share the Tough Targets
A new year means new objectives. And as hard as you negotiated, you still ended up with that target that is nigh on impossible with current resources and budget. Do you ignore it and hope everyone forgets about it? My suggestion is to share the impossible objective and seek creative solutions from those doing the role. They will have the answer, your job is to listen to them, find it and then make it happen. Crowdsourcing works when people understand the challenge, know that it matters and believe they can make the difference.

Take action image

4. Be the Change-Maker
I think I have made up a term, but too often, we can focus too much on the current. We ignore the future, hoping that someone else has that one covered. And then guess what, we never saw the change coming until it was too late. So this coming year, determine to be the “change-maker”. Instead of it being done unto you, you make the change happen. Even if you can’t do this, at least look up and see what’s coming. Set some time aside each week to find out what’s happening out there.

5. “Make It So”
Finally, instead of just thinking or talking about doing something different next year, turn it into action. As Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise would say, “make it so.”

Have a Most Innovative Year!