7 min read
This story originally appeared on Calendar
Let’s be real here. If you aren’t moving forward, then you’re falling behind. And that can occur in every aspect of your life. For example, if you’re growing in your marriage, this will be a bumpy road. And, if you’re maintaining the status quo at work, you’re either going to become dissatisfied or surpassed by the competition.
Suppose you’re still not convinced. Then let’s take a closer look at why you should think about innovation.
1. Encourages continuous growth and improvement.
Regardless of your age, continual self-improvement should always be a priority. After all, this enhances your strengths while overcoming your weaknesses. Furthermore, self-improvement can provide a sense of purpose and improve everything from your decision-making, mental health, and relationships.
With that in mind, innovation is a key driver of growth and improvement. This is because it pushes you to step outside of your comfort zone. As a result, this exposes you to fresh ideas, perspectives, and strategies. And, eventually, this will make you more effective, efficient, and productive.
2. Keeps you relevant.
“The world around us is constantly changing, and in order for your business to remain relevant and profitable, it will eventually need to adapt to meet these new realities,” writes Will Purcell, a marketing specialist and contributing writer for Northeastern University.
Technological innovation continues to drive the need for change. Here are some statistics illustrating the recent impact:
- For example, 90 percent of the world’s data has been created in the last couple of years.
- More than 570 new websites are created every minute.
- 8 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020.
There is also an expectation that a quarter of all jobs will be automated by already-existing technology in the near future.
“These changes have led to a new age of innovation across business models and industries, allowing new businesses to enter the market and disrupt incumbents in serious ways,” Purcell states. “In fact, executives today believe 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies will be wiped out in the coming decade due to this level of digital disruption.”
In the same manner, in which a start-up innovates to break into an industry, established companies must also innovate to remain competitive in this changing environment and relevant,” he suggests.
3. Helps you gain a competitive edge.
What exactly is a competitive advantage? It simply means possessing the attributes to stand out or outperform the competition. While this varies depending on your industry, it’s crucial if you want to pull ahead of your competitors.
Thanks to innovation, you can have an advantage in several important areas. These can include how you respond to trends, defying your unique selling point, and improving your existing operation, services, or products. In return, you’ll be able to differentiate yourself, better address your audience’s needs, and increase your bottom line.
And, if you want to know why it’s vital to quickly respond to external changes and challenges, just know that a mere 12% of the Fortune 500 companies from 1955 are still in operation. And, it’s expected that half of the S&P 500 companies will be replaced within the next decade.
4. Enhances resourcefulness.
Innovation is restricted to creating a new product or service. However, it’s also crucial when improving your existing procedures. In turn, this will make you more efficient, as well as reduce waste. Not only is that welcome news for your bank account, but this may also help you attract new customers along the way.
In other words, through frequent innovation, you’re able to learn how to work with what you have. That may unlock hidden talents for both you and your team. And that may aid in retaining them.
5. Lets you overcome the fear of failure.
“People who have innovated once, and who say they are not frightened that they won’t be able to repeat their success, are probably lying,” says Bryan Cantrill, an engineer at Sun Microsystems who invented software that allows systems engineers to track bugs in real-time. “The challenge is not to be crippled by fear, but allow it to drive you forward.”
Even better? Most innovators actually appreciate failure. Yael Maguire, the chief technology officer of ThingMagic and another of last year’s TR35, who has designed machines that read radio frequency identification chips, adds, “If you’re not working on technologies that are going to fail, you’re not pushing the boundaries enough. Even if the technology failed, you’d be able to put it in your back pocket and use it for some other purpose.”
6. Creates a positive company culture.
“If you look at history, innovation doesn’t come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect,” said Wired contributor Steven Johnson.
“The musician Brian Eno invented a wonderful word to describe this phenomenon: scenius,” adds Kevin Kelly, author of What Technology Wants, “We normally think of innovators as independent geniuses, but Eno’s point is that innovation comes from social scenes, from passionate and connected groups of people.”
If an organization is positive, supportive, and provides the proper tools and resources to succeed, this will folder a culture of innovation.
7. Combats critical social risks and threats.
It’s no secret that consumers expect brands to be socially responsible and address pressing issues like climate change. And, yes, innovation has the power to positively affect society in the following ways;
- Innovation, such as technological innovation, is a key driver in economic growth around the world.
- According to the new World Economic Forum report, approximately 133 million new jobs could be created by 2022. At the same time, AI, automation, and robotics could display around 75 million jobs. With that in mind, innovation is needed to develop new skills to meet future work demands.
- According to the Brookings Institution, countries with greater GDP per capita tend to have higher life satisfaction. Other research also shows that there is also a connection between innovation and subjective wellbeing.
- Digital technology, as an example, is being used to help reduce hunger, poverty, and sickness. It’s also leading to greater educational accessibility and environmental sustainability.
Training yourself to innovate.
If you feel that you lack in the innovation department, I’ve got some good news for you. It’s absolutely possible to train yourself to innovate. And, as suggested by Calendar co-founder John Hall, here are some suggestions to accomplish this fear;
- Cultivate your innovative traits by being curious and embracing risk.
- Use both sides of your brain. For example, using your non-dominant hand when brushing your teeth.
- Surround yourself with inspiration like the color blue or inspiring quotes.
- Develop a thirst for knowledge, such as frequently reading.
- Hang out with those who keep you accountable and push you out of your comfort zone.
- Explain things back to yourself. For instance, when you finish reading a book, recite or write down what you read.
- Flip your assumptions by shaking up your routine or doing repetitive tasks differently.
- “Contrary to popular belief, constraints and parameters actually stimulate creativity,” writes Hall. “Mainly because they force you to think flexibly and creatively.” Some ideas would be completing a task in under an hour or starting a side hustle with $100.
Image credit: shotpot; pexels; thank you!