There Is No Innovator’s Handbook

There Is No Innovator’s Handbook

By Megan Totka

Business owners and creators alike are in constant search of the next big thing. In an entrepreneurial landscape where innovation and evolution are spinning around us at breakneck speed, how can we possibly keep up? Perhaps the more pressing question remains; how can we innovate ourselves?

It seems easy enough, doesn’t it? Innovation seems like it’s ours for the taking when the college drop-outs of the world can build tech empires from scratch and the brightest ideas continue to come from the most unlikely sources. Yet with all the money and energy in the world, time stands in our way. Innovation is difficult because it involves not only creating something entirely new, but also seizing the opportunity to do so.

Therefore the modern entrepreneur is always on the move. We often look for all the right answers when we should be asking all the right questions.The secret to innovation is that there’s no secret at all; there is no innovator’s handbook. We cannot sit behind our desks and simply “innovate” for the sake of innovation. No, not when today’s business world operates in a manner of “show don’t tell”.

That is, the “secrets” of the Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg’s of the world aren’t tucked away in a tiny manual for us to reference. Instead, we see what they managed to build and where it came from. Apple and Facebook, for example, are not empires that came from nothing. They were sewn from the seeds of innovation, sparked from an idea that started like any other.

In short, innovation is nurtured and cannot be forced.

Such a claim can certainly be a hard pill to swallow. The aforementioned lighting-pace in which innovation occurs today can be both daunting and frustrating. We constantly feel that we’re on the edge of greatness. Something new. There must be something we can do to push ourselves closer. Yet that something does not involve us standing beyond our co-workers and employees shouting “Innovate!” Instead, it involves cultivating innovation through environment, attitude, and work ethic.

What sort of “environment” are we referring to? An environment that incubates innovation. Such an environment, in terms of workspace of work-climate encourages:

  • Creativity

    Innovation happens not just for those who think outside the box but rather those who dismantle the box altogether. Creating something new often requires us to take an entirely new approach to doing business.

  • Productivity

    It takes great focus to build a lasting product, let alone a lasting business. Ensure that your team has its proverbial “eyes on the prize” when it comes to your business’ potential innovations and creations.

  • Curiosity

    Innovators ask questions, plain and simple. The ability to task risks and ask even the most simple “why” represents the cornerstone of a true innovator.

The attitude of an innovator is something to behold. In the case of someone like Steve Jobs, perfection and persistence serve as driving forces for your company and its vision. Likewise, a Mark Zuckerberg may focus on the ability to grow, evolve, and adapt in the pursuit of creating something new. Regardless of your business or industry, you can carry such principles with you as you tackle new challenges and opportunities. Make sure that you stay positive and focus on what you can create

On the same note, few innovations happen overnight or by accident. Instead, they are the result of hard, legitimate labor. Such labor could take years, tolling both mind, body, and spirit for the sake of something new. We said earlier that innovation seems easy enough; however, achieving innovation is never as simple as it seems. The rewards, however, are innumerable.

The road to innovation is paved with trials and tribulations. Today’s wisest and swiftest businesses understand this concept, focusing on what it takes to incubate innovation rather than futile attempts at forcing it. Is your company on the same page when it comes to writing the book on innovation?


Photo via Flickr

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