It’s rare for innovation to exist in isolation. Most great innovators don’t have one burst of creative energy, then spend the rest of their lives quietly continuing with their jobs and other responsibilities. Instead, they live a lifestyle of innovation, looking for opportunities to make the ordinary extraordinary and to make sweeping changes within their organization, their industry, and their worlds. The greatest innovations don’t happen by always accident. They’re created through a combination of effort, creativity, and timing–and you can combine all of those things to enhance innovation within your own life.
Do you take for granted that things simply are the way they are? Do you take problems in stride with the assumption that they will always be that way and there’s nothing you can do to change them? While you need the patience to withstand minor daily trials without letting them shake your conviction, you also need the ability to see those problems as potentials for innovation. How could you bring better drinking water to an area that doesn’t have access to clean water? What solution is there for a medical problem experienced by a loved one–perhaps not a cure for the problem itself, but something that would make their lives easier? When you start to view the pieces of your life as a question that needs to be answered, rather than a declaration of “this is how it is,” you start to discover new ways to fix old issues.
The creative process often has more failures than successes. Imagine the caricature of a writer sitting before a typewriter or with a notebook, ripping out page after page and crumpling it before they find the perfect words to express what’s in their hearts. Those multiple attempts are part of the creative process. If one solution doesn’t work, it’s time to look at the problem from a different angle and try something else. If a solution flops, you go back to the drawing board to fine tune it, piecing together a new answer to the problem. Sometimes, you play with outrageous solutions simply to take the practical pieces out of them and use them in your final product. Innovators don’t discard something just because it’s outlandish. Instead, they use it as a stepping stone for the next part of the process. Innovators also aren’t stopped by failure. Their minds continue working at a problem and shooting for the solution even when past attempts have fallen short of the mark.
The best innovations come out of passion and dedication. They aren’t just about the creative process, however effective the creative solution might be. Instead, innovators take their creative processes to the next level. They actually put together the pieces they’ve been dreaming about. They share their innovations with people who have the power to turn them into reality. This final step in the process is the one that takes innovation from imagination to reality. Some of the most creative minds in the world don’t become innovators simply because they skip this vital step in the innovation process. True innovators, on the other hand, stick with the process. They’re more than just dreamers. They’re creators who are willing to send their projects out into the world.