The definition of innovation is to introduce something new. A simple definition for an incredibly difficult and complex task. Difficult at least for most of us.
Oftentimes innovation happens out of necessity or a need to solve a challenge to make life easier, more convenient, more productive. The lightbulb. The wheel. The Post-it® note. Amazon. Each of these innovations made life easier or better in some way.
Over the past year many individuals and organizations have had to innovate in order to survive during this remarkable time. What do we need to do differently in order to accommodate a remote workforce? What do we need to do differently to make life work for all the parents who are also balancing kids and school from home? How do we quickly get product to our customers when they can’t/won’t enter our store? Witnessing the innovation and resilience of so many has been a testament to the amazing creativity and ability to solve unexpected problems. We as families, organizations and communities have proven that change can happen quickly when we are aligned around a common goal and motivated to solve a problem.
As the world continues to change and we watch our families, colleagues and neighbors get vaccinated and begin moving around more freely, my hope is that we have learned a few things about innovation and will take forward that learning to continue to solve problems. To continue to band together to share a vision and solve the next complex challenge. What’s the challenge that you thought was too difficult, too big to solve 18 months ago? With new learning, new successes and new “muscles” around innovation, resilience and change, maybe it’s time to tackle the thing that felt too big before. While we move back to old behaviors, I hope that we continue to harness the experiences of 2020 and apply them in 2021 and beyond.
Take what you’ve learned and apply it to the next challenge. If you feel stuck, bringing in a diverse voice with diverse perspective can be the spark you need to continue on your innovation journey.
One final note. As you focus on innovation and change, don’t forget to complete the cycle — celebrate success and take a deep breath before charging back in.