Five questions to ask if you want an innovative team or organization

Who's the most innovative person you know? What do they do that makes them the most innovative?  How do they view the world?  How do they view their work?  What kind of space do they have in their life to be innovative?

I'm learning that even innovation is beginning to look different in our modern world.  Innovation, for large part, was the act of making something better.  The iPhone might be the best example in the last 10 years.  It's a phone.  It's an iPod.  It's a few other things we already had.  But it was an innovation making all those other things better instead of creating something absolutely new.

How is innovation changing?

The first thing to being innovative is not throwing out the baby with the bath water.  The structure that currently supports everything still needs to be tended to.  However, if you are a leader seeking innovation either you or an assigned team needs get completely outside the walls of the the current model.  Even if your organization was started ten years ago its methods of communication, sharing information, and training are outdated.  It's like putting a new coat of paint on a wall that isn't necessary anymore.  Innovation has changed requiring brand new methods, which are not hindered by the former structure that has held the current model but can also work in places with minimal resources.  Start your thinking towards equipping those cultures and everyone will benefit.

Once you are working outside the "normal or everyday operations" here are some critical questions to ask:

1.  If we never existed, how would we start today?  

2.  Using todays resources how would our infrastructure or sharing of information or methods be different?

3.  How would we enable people less financial resources to be successful at what we do?

4.  How would this require me, or us, as the leader(s) to communicate differently?

5.  What are the lowest cost experiments we can do to test the previous four questions?

Innovation in the future will go beyond simply modifying the model so it's better.  Innovation will be coming up with an entirely new way for the core values to be successful in places where the current model with a twist still won't work.  If you want to lean even further into thought on innovation I highly recommend Reverse Innovation: Create Far From Home, Win Everywhere by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble.  This book will cause your brain to spin in a profound and delightful way.  I'm already excited to hear how you are leading into a whole new way of innovation for your team or organization.