It doesn’t matter if you are the CEO of a multi-national company, an entrepreneur running a one man operation, or a recent college graduate just tumbling into your first ‘real job’ – the fact of the matter is … if INNOVATION is not your number one priority, you will be left in the dust.
One of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time, Richard Branson, said of the innovative spirit, “I’ve had great fun turning quite a lot of different industries on their head and making sure those industries will never be the same again.” So the secret, at least according to Sir Richard is simply to turn everything upside down.
Okay. So how do we do that? And what exactly IS IT that will be getting the old upsy-daisy?
Suffice it to say, if something is standing on it’s head – the perspective will certainly be different. So if we are to heed Branson’s advice, in order to turn an industry upside down, WE are going to need to ‘alter our perception’ first. The greatest innovators have the ability to ‘see things differently’ which gives them the ability to perceive solutions or ideas that no one else does. So in order to innovate, we need to be able to do the same thing … And yes … I guarantee it is 100% legal.
Perception is a function of our Intelligence system, and is uniquely formed in each individual by the repeated patterns of both internal and external influences from our environment. To put it more succinctly, our perceptions are formed by what we see, think, hear, feel or experience physically, mentally, emotionally and even chemically. All of these influences hard wire our nervous system and our nervous system becomes our mechanism of perception.
The simple way to begin to alter our perception is to begin to change our informational influences so we can activate new ways of thinking. To put it simply, in order to activate innovation we need to begin to ask different questions – questions that will push our nervous system and creative thought processes into new and more dynamic directions.
Altering perception begins when you start asking yourself or your team a new set of questions. Empowered questions. Evolved questions. When an empowered question is asked, an Integrated Intelligence will go to work immediately to find the most effective and efficient solution to answer it.
Often times developing an empowered question will offer you 90% of the solution.
Instead of asking ‘unempowered questions’ that begin with WHY … like WHY won’t my boss give me that promotion? or WHY is our product not selling? or WHY can’t I save any money? Consider asking questions that begin with HOW or WHAT.
Questions like … HOW can my company, product, brand be different in the marketplace? Or WHAT details can we add/remove from our product that would make it more user friendly? HOW can this project be completed on time? WHAT does my boss need to help make his job easier? HOW can I bring more value to my job? WHAT resources are we overlooking that can make us more profitable? … you get the picture.
WHY questions do not activate the creative processes in the brain to find SOLUTIONS. WHY questions are often times subjective with no solid answer. So stop asking them.
HOW or WHAT questions beg the brain for ACTION steps, and ignite the innovation connections that offer new ideas. When these new connections are stimulated, the brain begins to alter its wiring, so new PERCEPTIONS become activated. It is when these systems are switched on that the solutions appear before us as though they were sitting there the whole time. Which of course they were … we just weren’t setting ourselves up to recognize them.