We're still feeling the afterglow of last Thursday's inspiring panel at RED Academy, on Women & Innovation. We saw a lot of eyes light up listening to our panelists, and in case you were too in awe to take notes, we wanted to share some of the thoughts from the evening. Here we go...
On defining "innovation"
- A mindset/skill that needs to be practiced (don't just stick with the same old answers!)
- You do not need to reinvent the wheel to be considered innovative
- Taking concepts or ideas and applying them to another situation or for another purpose
- Taking old concepts or ideas and applying them to modern day situations or purposes
- Solving a problem in a new way
On being innovative
- Don't force it. To be innovative, you need to know who YOU are; your strengths and passions; focus on those. It can be difficult to come up with creative ideas for things that bore you or you know little about. strengthfinder.com.
- Innovation is not equal to technology. Technology is a result of innovation and a tool to be innovative, but not innovation itself. You can be innovative in any field of work.
- Stick to your guns. Your ideas are good ones. Men get an idea and think it's the best thing since sliced bread. Confidence (even if false or fake) can be convincing.
When it comes to defending your ideas
- Know your audience. Tailor your pitch to what you think they are looking for or what motivates them.
- Make sure you put your idea in context of the problem it's solving.
- Your ideas are not YOU. It's easy to be emotionally attached to your ideas, but don't take things so personally if someone shuts one down.
- Further to the above, some people will never be won over (or won't be until you're already successful :P). Some people need to be shown how good an idea is, not told.
- Sometimes it's important to realize if the environment your in is not welcoming of your innovative ideas, it may be time to move to somewhere that is.
On what organizations can do to cultivate innovative thinking/corporate culture around innovation
- Incentives for new ideas that work
- Starting an innovative group (Vision Critical's Innovation Circle)
- Generally being open-minded and welcoming of employees' ideas (sometimes it may not be the entire organization, but someone who has decision power who listens to you and will give you a chance without repercussions)
You don't need to know it all
- Create your own personal Board of Advisors and consult them on decisions you feel are important. These people will be invaluable. Family do not count.
- Get a mentor. Whether informal through a personal connection (maybe someone on your Board of Advisors) or a formal mentor who has relevant experience and new connections for you...better yet, do both. Apply to YWiB Vancouver's Blueprint Mentorship Program before October 15th!