‘Being innovative’ is just an attitude

Brand Audits’ Update x Christine Moody*

As seen in Tribeca NYC 2015_Chris Moody

‘Being innovative’ has become a buzzword and is seen as something we need consider for our organisations to survive and thrive in the future. In publications such as Harvard Business Review, Inc., and Entrepreneur, there are hundreds of articles on innovation and how organisations are using their innovative ideas to change the way we do things—think Uber, AirBnb, and Square. But where do we start?
Are there things that are happening in other industries that you can adapt and innovate in your industry?
Firstly we need to reframe what innovation is. According to Jeff Degraff in his Inc. article, “What is Innovation?”. It is not about inventing something completely new.  In the article, Degraff refers to the late Marshall McLuhan, University of Toronto professor and ‘cultural guru’ who outlines an innovation as:
  1. Enhances something: Think about how Google was a late entrant into the search biz but lapped the field with its simple approach
  1. Eliminates something: Think about how Charles Schwab eliminated the need for stock brokers by connecting the back office of the trading house directly to the customer
  1. Returns Us to Something in Our Past: Think about how the desire to have home cooked family meals has lead to the proliferation of underground dining and slow food restaurants
  1. Over Time Reverses into Its Opposite: Think about how e-mail was going to set us all free but instead enslaved us with its ubiquitous and overwhelming demands.
So with this definition it is easier to consider what innovation is and how to rethink it in your organisation. For example, ‘being innovative’ starts from seeing a problem and setting out to solve it. Which is the case for so many of the innovative business ideas. It also means getting around with your eyes open—whether by car, plane, or automobile—rather then looking at your iPhone screen. Instead look out the window, sit in a coffee shop, or walk around the block but keep your eyes (and ears) out for what is happening. Are you noticing anything different in food, fashion, or retail in general? Are there things that are happening in other industries that you can adapt and innovate in your industry?
 
Some of my best ideas have come from sitting and drawing people in parks or in coffee shops because the very act of drawing means you have to hone your observation skills. You can also store these ideas (in your head, on paper, or your iPhone) as you never know when an opportunity arises that you can call on these observations and ideas (as per the photograph I took in Tribeca NYC). By being open minded and open to new ideas, innovation becomes an attitude towards how we see things in our world.
So if innovation is an attitude…so do you need to thinking about changing yours?

*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels, and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation.

For more information: chris.moody@brandaudits.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

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