25 New Ways To Be Innovative
Well, I started out with 25 different bullets...please add your own and let me know what you think of these.
1. Write down your thoughts while they are fresh because you will forget them later
2. Challenge “what everybody says” or “does” or “thinks”
3. Keep paper and pen available to you everywhere (also something electronic to type on)
4. Write a blog - you do have something to say even if you don't think so right now
5. Comment on other people’s blogs because their ideas can spark new ideas in you
6. Find a professional social network or two where you can discuss things. (Facebook is a friend network not a social network and doesn't count.)
7. Get support from your boss to do innovative things by solving a problem for them that requires an innovative approach
8. Find people at work who also want to be innovative and talk to them. They might not be in your immediate work group. That is irrelevant and probably even a good thing.
9. Organize best practice meetings. You don't necessarily need to fly to a $1,200 conference to learn from an expert in person.
10. Practice being painfully honest with yourself. That will inoculate you against the painful honesty of others when they totally reject most of your ideas :-)
11. Be kind when you don't like an idea. (I am too blunt I admit.) Praise them for having made the effort. Find anything remotely salvageable about their idea and help them to develop that more.
12. Expect nothing immediate to result from your efforts, but don't settle for having no impact where you work. I'd say a 15% success rate (meaning out of every 10 ideas you pitch, 1 of them is accepted and another one is modified and then accepted) is decent.
13. Don't get upset when your initial brilliant idea is modified beyond belief in order to be used. You have still innovated. Yay!
14. Visit with others who are innovating somewhere else. They are smart and usually so excited about the chance to make a difference that they will happily help you out.
15. Remember that you always have multiple customers to please so just "helping the taxpayer" is NOT going to be enough. You have to please your agency's leadership first and foremost - as their blessing is going to give you the latitude you need to be creative in serving the taxpayer.
16. If you find it hard to be innovative yourself, find someone else who is and offer to help them. Build an innovation SWAT team and go fix something!
17. If you feel stuck, take a break and get something to eat. (Sorry if this is not what the diet lobby wants to hear...it works.)
18. Stop branding yourself, period. The more egocentric and self-conscious you are, the more you're thinking about how this is going to look on your resume, the more crowded your brain is and the less space there is for ideas to flow in creatively.
19. Find quiet time for yourself every day. Serious quiet time.
20. Others have said this and I think it's true - operate in an experimental mode. Somebody used the word "half-baked" to describe this. I like that term. Pilot a project, if it works, go for it; if not, pull it back in.
21. Be spontaneous more – seize the moment. Just in general, in your life.
22. Pay attention to what kids think, say, and do. Kids are innately innovative until grownups wash that out of them by making them sit in chairs all day and memorize things (but that's another discussion).
23. Admit that negativity exists, but don’t become negative because of it.
24. Observe, read about, or better yet spend time with people whose worldview, culture, approach to life is totally different from yours. National Geographic has a lot of good shows available free, online about other cultures, deviant behavior, etc. They're great.
25. Whether or not you believe in a Divine Creator, take time to think about the fact that you are a very tiny speck in the universe with a unique genetic code. This helps give you the perspective you need to be free in your thinking - for even if you are a small speck in the universe, there is something special about you, which means that you have something to contribute here that nobody else can.