Since I was a small girl, I dreamt of being an inventor. Gyro Gearloose (the inventor of Disney's DuckTales) was my hero. At that time, I thought I knew that innovation is something that necessarily involves a laboratory, a white coat and some geeky sterile jokes to go with it. Little did I know!
So when it came my turn to choose a University degree, I did follow my passion and enrolled in business courses that combined aspects of Organisational Psychology, Strategy and even Art History. Most people would not associate a business degree with innovation, but the contrary is true. Having had the chance to develop a broad set of skills and knowledge, paired with in-depth industry insights from the financial services industry allowed me to become an innovator throughout that career. I was passionate to find these small - or big - things that make a process better, the little things that help to unlock potential or simple bring a business relationship to the next level through increased connectivity.
The reality is, these days most innovations do not come out of a lab where a single person is pottering around. In contrary, my experiences shows that there is a great deal of randomness at the beginning of each great invention. I truly believe, innovation begins where people meet, where open-ended conversations are fostered and where enough thought-provoking debates are taking place. And this takes time. Innovation does not happen overnight, an innovative work culture needs to be developed in a top-down and bottom-up approach - and this takes guts and commitment from someone higher up the food chain that needs to set aside time (and time is money) and budget to allow employees to take ownership of innovation. And with that, we come to another point that I find incredibly important and where many clients naturally struggle with: Trust. If you are responsible for a company and for all the people within, how comfortable are you to free your employees for 1/5 of their working hours and to allow them to connect and develop an innovative discourse when KPIs are difficult to measure?
Innovation matters: it's your company's future. Start shifting your mindset today and allow for a more creative discourse and start tolerating a bit of chaos. I realise it's hard at the beginning, but we all also know from our own experience 'we need to play to grow'.