Attention CEO's: Here's the Ugly Truth About Innovation
Innovation is often seen as sexy and glamorous. We’ve seen countless scenes in the movies where the lone inventor or founder has an epiphany, and then rushes to implement it. We’ve also read the articles that glorify the likes of Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, who are portrayed as lone-wolf innovators that can achieve the impossible. But it’s not just the movies and the magazines, business books – being a bit more based in reality - tell us about the importance of collaborative teams working together to solve problems, as if doing this on its own will somehow make the process simple and problem free.
Innovation gets portrayed as something that is scientific, simple, fast, predictive and easy to measure.
Whereas the reality is far more complicated than that; innovation is slow, cumbersome, frustrating, unpredictable, and has a high chance of failure.
And very importantly, it can be emotionally draining. Many a times at Falak, have we sat around the white board, staring at it blankly, trying to reignite the enthusiasm we felt at the start of an innovation project. The good news is that this is normal; the process of innovation is not a straight line, it’s not always exciting and it certainly isn’t predictable.
How do we resolve this? Well, the first thing is to recognise and accept the reality. Of course, you should always enter an innovation project with enthusiasm and positive energy. However, you should also recognise the pitfalls, especially the emotional lows that can – and will – appear along your journey.
The best advice I can give you is to take a break from the project. It can be stopping early on the day and focusing on something else, or actually taking a few days off from the project entirely just to reenergise yourself. Also, the team needs to be honest with itself and have open communication. If anyone feels drained and that the project has lost some of its momentum they should speak up. This act itself can lift the spirit of the entire team.
Once you return to the project after a break you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the new perspective you and your team can bring to the project. Repeat the process as many times as necessary until you reach your goal.
On a different note, you might also consider attending the Falak Unreasonable Thinking Summit. The summit is a unique event on the Bahraini calendar supported by Tamkeen, and the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB). It’s a two-day summit on innovation, disruption and “unreasonable thinking.” We have eight speakers from seven countries talking about the amazing work they are doing in the field of innovation. Don’t’ miss it! Details on the website.
Falak UTS 2018 is brought to you by: