Innovation is hard. Pushing against the tide of the status quo will always feel like pushing water uphill.

As humans, we like routine. We like the familiar because we know the outcome and how to be successful. Doing new stuff is risky, and we all have different appetites for risk. So why bother with innovation if it’s so hard?

Innovation is a necessity. In boardrooms, the need for innovation is no longer questioned; it is a strategic imperative. People want better. People want more. People want less. People want different. Whatever the desire, if you or your organisation is not going to meet these needs, there will be someone else around the corner who will.

So that answers the “why” for an organisation, but what about those in that organisation? Most employees want their company to do well, but how do you engage employees to get involved in innovation and to maintain that interest with all the busyness of their day-job?

As innovation becomes more “professional” and less the domain of the hobbyist, people get shown how to innovate, learn the processes and methods, put them into practises and share them with others. And in the rush to find the next new idea, the heart of innovation is forgotten and swallowed up by the innovation machine that has been created.

To me, innovation is, at the heart of it, about people.

People who desire to change their world or the world of others.

For them, it’s not about using a brand new innovation tool or technique, but it’s being passionate about solving the problem in front of them. Caring about the impact of the current situation and caring enough to do something about it. 

“Love the problem, not your solution”, said Ash Maurya. In my experience, those that are passionate about the problem and making the change, are on a path to success.

It’s passion that drives us to make our own little “dint in the universe”, as Steve Jobs once said. Taking steps that truly understand the problem and seeing the impact of that problem, and what could be if that problem was solved.

Innovation at its heart must be emotional. If you don’t care, then why do it? When hard times come, and they will, what’s driving you to keep going?

Passion is why we spend extra time after work on our ideas.

Passion is why we are willing to risk being different and look stupid.

Let’s make sure we never apologise for caring too much, as passion is key ingredient to having successful, sustainable innovation. Hold onto that passion tightly…


Image credit: Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash