The last several posts have focused primarily on why innovators fail. Knowing what can stop you is the best place to start when figuring out how to succeed. On the other hand, knowing how to look for signs that can make you successful is another set of innovation weapons that you must arm yourself with as you battle the political forces of Corporate Culture. Just as seeing the warning signs is all about seeing how the outside world perceives YOU, creating one's success is about going inside yourself to ensure YOU are ready for the outside world.
Being an innovator is so much about challenging convention. When you do this your internal and external radar needs to be up at all times. You need to get aware of those around you and constantly be aware of yourself. This is at the core of why great innovators are successful. I believe it is being a life learner, who has the perseverance to challenge oneself to be a cultural chameleon, human rubber band or whatever you want to call it.
A good story of this is happening to me right now. Although I have lived with myself for so many years, I am astounded at how even as I grow older I can still find extremely profound observations about how I do things and how they are perceived by others. I mean big stuff...the kinds of things that if you can create "coping mechanisms" for, will pay big dividends in your ability to work with others. As a disciple of the Idea Connection Systems ISPI (a topic for another day...go look at www.innovating.com/ispi), I have come to think of my innovation profile as something that is fixed with it being up to me to find ways to challenge myself to be flexible. Having awareness of myself and having been trained in how to read others "profiles" or habits, I am learning over time to see interactions and recognize what I am doing wrong.
Just recently, I realized something very interesting. As a person who has a profile of creating big ideas, being visionary and unfortunately divergent (in my mind anyway) that I am person who loves concepts (thus this very conceptual blog). In fact, I am realizing that while I have successfully created and delivered big ideas that drive business results throughout my career, as a change agent I often do not get recognized for the small things I sometime do. And while I am used to this...I think I recently learned one important link. As a conceptual thinker, when someone asks me to communicate my thoughts, I often answer with a conceptual explanation. Within the context of my concept is a very tangible output that will deliver something great. And while I am very focused in my explanation of that concrete end state, I need the conceptual framework to think about how to get there. Because I describe a conceptual framework to talk about an end result, my ideas sound very theoretical. That is not my intent, but how I create and ultimately produce. I need to do a better job I realized, because unless my counterpart is like me I can come across as out there...and that is frustrating. This is a great example of why it is so important to be self aware at all times. If you want to be a change agent, the road can be difficult. You can be perceived as contrarian, out in left field, risky, misunderstood or whatever. But if you remember that when you point the finger at someone there are three fingers pointing back at you, you will have the moxie to change.
This learning is helping me think through why I have to do a better job of communicating when the audience is the opposite of me...convergent, concrete and interested in results. My lesson for myself...I need to think FIRST about what I am going to deliver and focus hard on describing that. I just need to keep the conceptual framework to myself. That is my magic...it is my personal fuel and no one else's. I
This is the moment when innovators because good and good innovators become great. WE ALWAYS MUST RECOGNIZE TO CHALLENGE OURSELVES. And now the CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK for those who love concepts about why great innovators are often successful.
Some followups and final thoughts...
1. Go check out www.innovating.com/ispi if you want to learn how you like to create, interact, learn and produce innovation
2. Think about how you are going to CONSTANTLY challenge yourself to improve your awareness of yourself...being successful in my opinion starts here
3. If you like concepts they can help guide you to analyze things to then be able to CONSTANTLY challenge yourself.