The word “innovation” is synonymous with “change.” But change can be scary. Especially when it’s the change we don’t want to see or experience. With the upcoming 2020 presidential election, the need for swift and decisive action is heightened. The stakes are high. If we do not take action to sustain our economy, protect our environment, and build a safer, more secure, and healthy future for all Americans, then America will fall behind other nations.
That is why innovation rules is so important an essential part of running a successful business — even if you’re not trying to change the world overnight with your innovations.
We have seen many great examples of innovation in business over the years, from jet engines that push airplanes faster to produce less carbon dioxide to new ways of extracting oil and minerals from the Earth’s crust to make them accessible for people instead of predatory corporations.
Here are seven rules you need as a business owner or leader who wants to build a better future with technology:
Think Differently: Do Your homework first
There is no way to sugarcoat the fact that innovation is a difficult process. It involves both positive and negative outcomes and requires individuals and organizations to consider different options and outcomes, both good and bad. This is how experiments are conducted and new ideas are formed. To learn more about innovation, you should conduct your investigations.
Be nimble: Change your mind
As a business owner or leader, one of the biggest challenges you’ll face is changing your mind, especially during the early stages of innovation. You can’t just throw it in the air and hope it lands somewhere else, other than on your product or service. During the early stages of innovation, the most important thing you can do is change your mind. Let go of whatever you were thinking about and start again from scratch. You will fail a lot in the beginning and will probably fail badly, but that is normal and expected. What’s unusual about the process of innovation, though, is that once you get the ball rolling, you need to be nimble enough to change your mind whenever something new and unexpected comes up. This is exactly what robots and automation can’t do at this point in history. Humans are still needed to work in dangerous jobs, like miners and loggers, and to tend to the Earth’s ecosystem. You will fail a lot during the early stages of innovation, but that is normal and expected. After all, innovation is a risky business.
Cooperate with others: Take a step back
The one rule you should follow when working with others in business or any sector is to cooperate with them. This means that you will try to be reasonable, open-minded, and constructive, even if you don’t necessarily agree with their point of view. You don’t have to like someone’s idea or product, you may even prefer your idea or product to theirs — but you need to work together to reach a mutually beneficial outcome. This means that you need to refrain from playing the “I told you so” game, even if the person or people who told you so were right. Real innovation doesn’t involve being a know-it-all. It involves finding a middle ground that everybody can agree on.
Always do your homework: Look for negative implications
One of the most important innovation rules of all when it comes to innovation is always to do your homework. This means that you should know as much as possible about the potential outcomes and consequences of your proposed innovations. You should know the benefits and disadvantages of all the different options available. This is especially important when you’re just starting in business and don’t yet have a clear idea of the market size, demand, and the like. Avoid rash decisions and sweeping generalizations and you will be fine. One of the biggest knocks against business as a profession is that people don’t understand it. It’s hard to explain to people who don’t do it themselves, but innovation is complicated. If you don’t know the basics, it’s really hard to explain to people why they’re important. That is one of the biggest reasons innovation is important: to protect our environment and our health, our safety, and our quality of life.
Don’t be afraid to shake things up: Take a risk
Another important aspect of innovation is to shake things up. If the status quo is causing problems, try to break out of it. If that means taking a risk and doing something different, then go for it. This can be anything from starting a new industry to abandoning a stable product to releasing a new and improved version of it. Some of the most game-changing innovations in human history have been revolutionary in their approach.
Protect your innovation: Strive for perfection
To protect your innovation rules, you need to strive for perfection. This means that you need to do everything in your power to make sure that your innovation works exactly as planned. You should test everything, use as many standardized tests as possible, and follow all applicable rules and regulations. This is a really important rule to follow because innovation is all about trying out new things and seeing what happens. If something doesn’t work as planned, you can always go back to the drawing board and try to fix it. But if you are consistent and careful, your innovation will be just fine.
Innovation is a powerful force that can drive forward new economic growth, job creation, and social mobility, it can also improve our quality of life and combat climate change by enabling new industries and products to flourish. That is why innovation rules is so important an essential part of running a successful business — even if you’re not trying to change the world overnight with your innovations.