The Innovation Run

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The easiest way to complete a 5K run is to take a taxi!

I’m serious. If all you need to do is to get to your specific destination in the fastest way possible – take a car. If you even don’t want to drive – have someone do the driving for you. It is not only legitimate; it is your best option… if you just need to get there already.

There is another way, though. It requires much more effort and discipline. It requires patience. It will certainly not get you to the 5K finish line faster. And yet, many decide to take this path, which can take weeks and even months to accomplish. For some strange reason, they have decided to invest in being able to complete a 5K run by themselves.

Yes, some people get up in the morning and practice! They seek to develop their skills and capabilities. They want to get in shape. Completing a 5K run might seem like the goal, or maybe just an interim milestone, but it is having a better physical fitness that is the real goal of these strange people. They know that for the long run it will have many more benefits.

Hiring someone to do your innovation for you won't build your organizational capabilities. Click To Tweet

Being a creative and innovative organization is just like that. If you are looking for one-time innovation – to come up with one creative idea which might be the next big thing – you can probably get a taxi. You can hire someone to guide you through the process of coming up with an innovative idea and implementing it. You can even hire someone to do that entirely for you. It is a valid option, and it might even work. What it won’t do, however, is build your organizational capability.

Developing creativity and the ability to innovate cannot be done overnight. It is a journey.Click To Tweet

Just like gradually building your physical fitness (and then staying in good shape), developing creativity and the ability to be innovative cannot be done overnight. It is a journey. It requires daily practice. You cannot build your physical fitness by spending only one week a year running. Similarly, you will never be able to build an innovative organization by having a dedicated “innovation week” or a one-time workshop. You gradually have to re-program your organizational muscles for being creative. And this takes practice and time.

But what’s the benefit in taking this longer route? Why not settle for the easier solution and just get someone to help us come up with the next big idea? Well, it can work for a very focused goal and only for the short term, but the downside is you will never know what you are missing.

Any challenge your organization face can turn into an opportunity with a creative mindset. Click To Tweet

Innovation is not just about coming up with the next big product. It is not just about coming up with a new killer feature. Creativity is not a skill required only in the creative department. Imagination is not just used for creating a vision. Any challenge your organization face can turn into an opportunity with a creative mindset. A truly innovative organization is one that lives and breathes innovation 24/7 in all aspects of its operation. Innovation has to be practiced holistically. Focusing only on one aspect will rarely be groundbreaking.

Innovation has to be practiced holistically.Click To Tweet

To be holistically innovative, you have to develop the core skills shared by all creative people: observation and imagination. You cannot have only a small number of creative people. You have to build a creative mass within your organization.

The good news is that this is not only feasible, but it is also very much within reach. Just like everyone can improve their physical fitness, developing personal and organizational creativity starts with defining it as an important goal and doing the first step as soon as today!