A Formula For Innovation

Behind closed doors of offices around the world, people are trying to create the new disruptive industry. Whether it’s medicine, transportation, hospitality, or retail there is always a company that is doing something innovative. This concept has led me on a hunt for a formula to innovation if there ever was one. I wanted to know in a world that’s moving faster than ever before how companies are keeping up and staying in the game.

Innovation is the creation of a new product or service that solves a problem that many don’t know they even have. Bringing a new product to market can be risky but with the proper assembly of a team you could be the next Uber. Through my research I’ve found multiple “formulas” and many have mutual components. Innovation is more than just inventing and bringing to market now. There are a few more ingredients to mix into the solution.

Leadership

Leadership is the least quantifiable of the ingredients we’ll talk through today but should definitely not be overlooked. To have an idea is one thing but to foster it and grow the right way is the tough part. It’s conceiving a child in a very figurative way. Conception is the easy part. It’s the guidance and nurturing that that differentiate one child from another, who becomes an engineer or teacher.

Treating a project with the same foresight as you would the rearing of a child is a delicate part of the process. Bringing in the proper leadership is essential. These leaders must understand the project fully. It’s visualizing the end product and how it aims to be integrated into society. Micro-goals are also supervised and made sure that they all add up to the end goal.

A leader must have effective communication skills and a personable presence. They may not be the type of person you have your head. Look for someone intelligent and organized with excellent management rapport but you also want to grab a beer with them after a long day. Someone to discuss ideas or concerns with and actually takes your opinions into consideration.

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Team

Someone once said, “Teamwork makes the dream work.” and it’s true. It takes more than an individual to create something new. We’re not living in times of Einstein or Newton anymore. In a series of interviews with innovation experts, Mr. Hitendra Patel speaks on the importance of team effort when it comes to creating truly innovative concepts.

Patel is the CEO of IXL Center – a global innovation consulting and capabilities building company. Some highlights from this interview include his reasoning on why speed and collaboration make up the majority of his personal formula for innovation. Patel draws a simple concept of dots in our minds. Like the familiar childhood activity, we connect the dots in numerical order to create an amusing sketch. Patel suggests to strip the dots of the accompanying numbers a reconnect the image in a new and interesting way. This is why collaboration is essential. The more minds, the more new and interesting ways to connect the dots. An initial trial may produce a fairly good image but more attempts and more connections may produce a stunning picture. That’s the goal!

At the Institution for Innovation Development creative students are sponsored to catalyze innovations and grow businesses in a world of rapid change. They are given the opportunity to connect and reconnect the dots and breakthroughs occur.

Layering

First, there was the wheel, then the wagon, now the automobile. We’ve seen the progression of products throughout history and the layering of new innovations into existing products is another component of our little formula.

There is no cap on what you can do. You may be wondering, “Ok what about companies like Uber? How do we innovate on that?”, well to tell you the truth I don’t know, if I didn’t I don’t think I’d be writing this right now. BUT I know that there is some coding prodigy out there in school that will add that new layer. The moral is that you don’t have to create a completely new product, it’s never been that way even though many of us believe that. Take a look around your home and you’ll find that most pieces have been modified from an older version. The question is how can you make it more efficient, smaller, more comfortable, faster. The variables are endless the innovation should be marketable.

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Speed

All things take time but in a world with international collaborations and highest concentration of intelligent people scattered in cities around the world, beads of sweat should be forming at the speed you should be working. This isn’t to mean that you have to work day and night in order to achieve your goal. It’s all the components we’ve discussed so far that can help you reach a breakthrough more quickly.

There really is no option to slow down because once you do, someone else will dethrone you and be the leader in your industry. It’s scary but true. Cutthroat is what I imagine and in order to stay on top, you must always be willing to learn and grow. Patience and persistence are also a part of this process. No matter how fast you want things done, you want them done right so the proper testing and trials should be administered.

These are the stand out components of innovation I have found. Of course, you need funding and creativity but we’re living in an age where a simple idea isn’t enough. If you’re looking for a mathematical equation here’s one that kind of sums up this article:

Invention + Entrepreneurship + Community = Innovation

If you have any other points to add let us know in the comments or what you think of these four points!

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