Fast Company

There May Be No “I” In Team, But What About Innovation?

How you noticed that everybody likes to talk about being innovative and the importance of driving innovation, and yet few people want to change what they are doing?  This is the first paradox of innovation.  For most people, innovation means others doing things differently.

Innovation is a team sport.  Even innovations driven by an individual have a provenance that reaches back to use build blocks formed by others.  This is what Isaac Newton meant when he said, “If I have seen further it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.”  None of us would argue with the aphorism “There is no I in team.”  But even teams rely on individual contribution.  If one member of the team is not helping to pull the wagon, the productivity of the team suffers.

This is doubly true for innovation.  True innovation is hard.  There are challenges to be met.  The unknown looms before us.  We have to move both ourselves and others outside of the comfort zone.  This can be a daunting task.  It is no wonder that so many organizations fail to get there innovation engines firing on all cylinders.

This is why it is critical that as innovation practitioners we acknowledge that the “I” in innovation is us.  We must each take personal responsibility for innovation and not wait for others to lead the charge.  Ask yourself these questions.

How am I championing innovation?
How am I changing my behavior to drive innovation?
How am I expanding my “box” by mastering innovation skills?
How am I engaging the entire enterprise in infectious innovation?
How I am contributing to make innovation a sustainable value driving core competence?

What are you doing to drive innovation?  How are you challenging yourself to do more?

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