Being an innovator means that you are capable of generating something new and original. In most cases, innovation stems from existing ideas or processes, correlating into a new pattern.
This type of thinking affords many opportunities for the future of those that can acquire the skills to achieve the mindset that all of life’s challenges are merely another problem or challenge yet to be solved. Being innovative is about achieving smart and affordable solutions to existing challenges with systems or processes. Creativity is not only reserved for artists, musicians and poets—it applies to business people as well.
As an entrepreneur, manager or professional bearing a lot of responsibility, you face challenges or problems needing to be solved every single day. Limited resources call for creativity. Thinking outside the box and approaching challenges from new perspectives allows you to become a sophisticated problem solver, an innovator.
The more practice you have, the better you get at it. Keeping your thoughts fresh and mind open is essential for innovation to continually flourish throughout your life and career.
Ask questions, put yourself in new situations, and hang around with people outside of your profession or background.
Being open minded and welcoming to new experiences helps you to develop new insights and perspectives which expands possibilities and diminishes limitations. Travel to new countries and learn about new cultures, join different extracurricular activities, take up a new hobby—or maybe it is time to give your career a makeover and do something completely new.
Travel was an invaluable experience for me to open my mind to new possibilities and different ways of doing the same thing, the ability to adapt in new environments helped me gain confidence and courage when I started on the path of entrepreneurship. Being eager to learn anything helps you keep a beginners mind and stay open, not closed to new possibilities.
READ BOOKS AND THINK ABOUT THEM
It is a no-brainer that reading makes you smarter. Reading books by authors summarizing their years of experiences and insights, prestigious education or in-depth research gives you an obvious advantage to develop deeper thinking capacity than most members of society busy watching television programs.
Good authors connect you to how they think; you in turn can take notes or gain knowledge from what they already know to be true.
BREAK YOUR ROUTINE
Feeling stuck? Take a break from the problem or change your environment.
Oftentimes breakthrough ideas do not happen right in front of your computer, but rather on a walk, in the shower, while driving your car, etc. Albert Einstein meditated on his problems and waited for the solution to come to him. He followed the spiritual intuitive route to problem solving versus a structured formula to innovate in, the latter of which is commonly found in corporate environments.
Savour new experiences and change up your routines and patterns of behaviour to leave openings for something new to come to fruition. More experienced managers of established companies may find themselves stagnant when they rely on exclusively on past experiences or processes as baselines. Release from convention and logic and see what comes up for you; chances are if you are an entrepreneur a lot of people already think you are weird anyway.
QUESTION YOUR OWN ASSUMPTIONS
Your beliefs and values dictate your behaviour. It is good to take a step back and ask yourself why you believe something to be true.
By asking questions and challenging the status quo you are allowing yourself to connect ideas in a novel way leads to breakthroughs and "Aha!" moments. True innovators can see associations and make connections that others cannot by developing their cognitive capacity to see new patterns. Talk to you customers, dig for real insight, and think about what you can strategize to improve your business to better solve their problems.
Being an innovator requires you to keep things fresh. Testing and experimenting different life experiences will take you on a path of discovery that is unique to you. There are many paths to the same destination and it is up to you to design your approach to how you will get there.
Cultivating creativity and the capacity to come up with good ideas that solve problems and challenges is not only intrinsically rewarding but an extremely valuable skill set in the business world as an intrepreneur or an entrepreneur.