How To Cultivate Innovation As A Survival Skill

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If companies and individuals are to thrive and grow, innovation is the vital response. Now, more than ever.

By Guest Contributor Natalie Turner

“For women to better adopt innovation in their everyday lives, courage is important. Be willing to step out and try something different. Be a self disruptor!”

We are on the cusp of a new paradigm in human history. The current world of innovation is filled with technology-enabled entrepreneurship, which will disrupt all we take for granted today. Now, more than ever, innovation is an essential survival skill. It will remain one. But the speed with which we need to innovate will become even more critical in the near future.

My relationship with innovation is ever-evolving. I have always been a traveler who enjoys new experiences. I am quite adventurous, psychologically curious, and I thrive on change. A thread of strategic innovation has weaved throughout the work I have done over the course of my life: my red thread if you like.

From looking at how education was being transformed by technology, to launching new products in start-ups, working in incubators, creating new business models and bridging the gap between organizational culture and innovation, I thrive on uncertainties. These qualities are entwined into the fabric of my DNA.

My greatest experience is seeing proven methodologies switch the lights on in people’s minds. I am most satisfied when people are energised to transform themselves and their organisations.

For women to better adopt innovation in their everyday lives, courage is really important. Be willing to step out and try something different. Be a self disruptor! Having an open mind that seeks out the new, the willingness to grow and challenge your own assumptions are all part of embracing innovation.  

To cultivate innovation, we begin from intent. I call this the starting point to anchor down what is the bigger purpose for innovation. We can come back to this place and challenge our assumptions about the process. As a guide, here are tips from my methodology The Six ‘I’s of Innovation®:

  1. Identify: This requires bundles of curiosity. Ask questions. Learn and unlearn about things you know nothing about.
  2. Ignite: Innovation requires a spark to create something novel. Otherwise, it is business as usual. Start a hobby that makes you feel alive. Be wowed, amazed. Be stimulated! Go on a date with yourself and think of something new.
  3. Investigate: Test, prototype and see if your great idea is going to work. Investigate requires critical thinking. Make sure to test ideas before implementing them, only to find out that they didn’t work.
  4. Invest: Often, we have to make decisions now to go ahead with something. And this needs a big dose of courage! Our ability to influence is also critical here, particularly if we have to raise money and get people on board to help us make something happen.
  5. Implement: Making it happen is the hard work of innovation. Breathing life into an idea makes something real. Partnerships are key, especially if you don’t have the capability to do it on your own. Make sure to have the necessary skills and competencies to deliver.
  6. Improve: This requires a clever mindset, the ability to see where you can leverage and optimise, to make something even better than it is. It keeps you humble, when you reflect on what you are learning, both from success and failure.

Being a writer, both fiction and nonfiction, is one way to be transformative. It requires creativity and discipline, which are also core qualities of being effective at innovating. It is the best way to communicate philosophies and stories.

If my 65-year-old self could see me now, she would want me to focus. Let go of good ideas and pursue the great ones. Systemise and become a multiplier. I have always been relentless in achieving what I want in life, even though what I want may change. My teachers used to say that I don’t let the grass grow under my feet. I think that sums me up. I do everything in life with gusto, commitment and passion. I don’t know any other way to be.


Images by The Entheo Network, Natalie Turner

To find out more about innovation, contact natalie.turner@entheo.com for a report on the key strengths, challenges and degree of importance each of the Six “I”s is to you. This will help you focus on what you need to do to help increase your chances of success.

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