A popular statistic that was circulated a few years ago is that ‘65% of children entering primary school now – will be in jobs that did not exist 10 or even 5 years ago’. [https://reports.weforum.org/future-of-jobs-2016/chapter-1-the-future-of-jobs-and-skills/].
Whether or not this statistic is accurate is up for debate – but the essence behind it is certainly true – that the business environment is changing and to be relevant in 10 years companies need to be open to changes. For a real-world example of this we only need to look at our phones. This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the iPhone. Upon its launch, Steve Jobs proclaimed it to be “A widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, and a breakthrough internet communications device.”. At the same time, Nokia was the market leader with 49.4% (According to Gartner), 6 years later their share had dropped to 3%.
Successful businesses innovate. Successful businesses spot opportunities and disrupt the norm. Successful businesses are able to be flexible in their approach and never rest on their laurels in how they take their products and services to market.
Innovation is required not just to move forwards, but to ensure you don’t slide back into the abyss like Nokia. According to a Cisco blog [https://blogs.cisco.com/innovation/ten-predictions-on-how-innovation-will-disrupt-business-and-culture-in-2017] big changes are ahead and innovation is at the heart of all of it.
But how do you go about the process of ‘innovation’? New ideas are not easy to simply come up with. You need to make sure that you create the time for them. To build in a way of allowing new Ideas to appear. In my personal experience, you need to get away from your desk, you need some space. Or rather the acronym; S.P.A.C.E.
The first thing that you need to do when looking for new ideas is to break your routine. If you are doing your same workflow day in and day out you get stuck in a linear thinking mode. You need to break away from this give yourself some time and space to think. This could be in a coffee shop, working from home or even while on holiday. Getting away from your desk will help you look at things in a different light.
It is not enough just to change scenery. You also have to get away from any work tasks that you consider ‘basic’. Answering emails, checking finances, running processes can often be done on autopilot. You need to pause your day to day tasks – at least for a while
Ideas don’t just appear in your mind. People typically need some stimulus to trigger an idea. Having access to alternative stimulus will provide you with new triggers. Often, I find this comes in the form of reading articles, magazines or non-fiction books from influential leaders. The wider the repertoire of sources I read, the more chance I have of a new idea being triggered. This also does not have to be from dry ‘academic’ sources – fiction books, movies, art, museums can all potentially trigger a new idea. Just make sure you are open to the potential of new ideas appearing.
The key thing with new ideas is exactly that...the idea. You do not need to have a fully-fledged strategy or a complete ‘how to’ mapped out. Often the finer details need days, weeks or even months of research and planning. You don’t want to get bogged down in all of those elements when you are in ‘new idea mode’. This is why you need to create a list of your ideas. Someone simple & easy to record inspiration when it comes. Personally, I use my phone. I often email myself an idea and then, when I am back in ‘work mode’ I am able to pick it up and work out exactly how I am going to make that idea come to life.
This is the one element of the 5 that you cannot plan for. You need to have a genuine passion for what you do. You have to enjoy the process of coming up with new ideas. When I am on holiday and I am ‘relaxing’ I do not feel upset that my mind starts to drift to work opportunities. I enjoy it. I like that I can be sitting on a beach somewhere and something will trigger a new idea for me to explore when I get back work. If you do not genuinely enjoy what you do for a living, then this part will never come and you will always struggle to come up with new ideas.
So in order to enable new ideas – make sure you find SPACE for them.
S. Scenery – Get away from your day to day routine
P. Pause – Your ‘basic’ work functions
A. Alternative – Stimulus
C. Create – a list of your ideas
E. Enjoy – What you do