When we use the term “corporate innovation”, it might seem that a company is innovating or reinventing itself. Famous American entrepreneur and best-selling author, Seth Godin rightly summed it up — “No organization ever created an innovation. People innovate, not companies.”
Everyone associated with a company is essential and deserves credit for a new product or service in some way or the other. But, some deserve it more than others. They are the ones who come up with the breakthrough ideas and bring them to life. So, what exactly differentiates these people, or rather innovators? Let’s explore a few traits of great innovators!
3 Traits of Great Innovators
1. Not Afraid to Fail
You don’t know anything for sure until you try it out. Innovators don’t hesitate to experiment. They understand that no innovation is without risks. Not only that, they encourage everyone around them to practice the same. While experimenting, there will be failures. Great minds don’t consider these failures taboo. They encourage their squad to get over the failure and focus on the next project with the learnings from the former. Moreover, on some occasions, failed projects with some adjustments can lead to something meaningful. We wouldn’t have pacemakers today if the original project was not a failure.
2. Proactive & Continuous Improvements
One of the most valuable traits of great innovators is always looking out for cues, even in industries other than the one they are working in. Reinventing existing technologies is a big part of corporate innovation. In this context, Harvard Business Review writes about an interesting case. A ski company wanted to fix the problem of the skis lifting from the snow during sharp turns at high speed. To resolve this, it took hints from somewhere that anyone would least expect — the music industry. The company found out that some violins have a metal grid that stabilizes the instrument, and decreases unwanted vibrations. The innovators of the company modified the metal grid to fit it into its ski design — and voila – the problem was solved!
3. Always Seeks for More
Great innovators never say — “That’s it. I’ve reached my goal. I’m done.” One can even say that they don’t get enough innovation — and constantly keep looking for more. After achieving each goal, they set new ones. Their immense hunger for novel ideas, hard work in executing them, and incremental self-improvement secure their positions at the top. Imagine if Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had given up after creating Apple I! The brand wouldn’t have been what it is today and we would have missed out on disruptive innovations like the iPod and iPhone.
Now you tell us — what other qualities have you noticed in great innovators around you? Get in touch & share your thoughts!