At this year’s Shippers Symposium, keynote speaker Josh Linkner, author of the New York Times bestseller Road to Reinvention, discussed how to create everyday innovation in a world full of technology. Amidst the constant noise of the modern world, Linkner noted that the most important tech is actually right in front of us: human creativity!
As a technologically-advanced society, we can still inject critical human innovation to fuel growth, creativity and transformation in our organizations. This is not only the key to modern-day problem solving, it also enables companies to come with a fresh approach to meet the ever-evolving needs of their customers. Below are the five mindsets that Linkner highlighted during his presentation – we hope these provide some inspiration for your ongoing business success!
Every Barrier Can Be Penetrated:
In life we come across barriers; however, this doesn’t mean that we should just give up. Linkner explained that if we dig deep, we can break out of any barriers that were previously deemed impossible. For example, Jessica Matthews from Nigeria had a powerful new idea to help her home country. When the power went out (a fairly common occurrence), her family had to use a diesel fuel generator. When Jessica traveled to the U.S. for her education, she developed soccer balls and other sports equipment that generated electricity through motion – and was eventually able to bring this innovative technology back to her entire community. Because Jessica used abstract thinking, she was able to help thousands of people live a better quality of life.
For today’s businesses, the belief that challenges can be overcome in any circumstance presents a unique opportunity to create innovative solutions.
“Video Killed the Radio Star”:
Much like the 1979 music hit, the principle of “letting go of the past in favor of the possible” is critical for new ideas. Linkner gave a great example of a company that used creativity to turn something old and ordinary into something fresh and creative. When the Regis Hotel wanted to add new services, they hired a company to fill the normally-empty room closets with clothing and goods for purchase. The selections were based on a survey sent to customers before their arrival at the hotel, providing a value-added service for guests and providing a new sales opportunity through innovation.
To survive and thrive in the modern consumer space, successful companies need to embrace the mentality of enhancing, reinventing and reimaging their core products and services (including their supply chains!) to prevent another innovator from coming along and doing it better.
Change the Rules to Get the Jewels:
From a young age, many of us are taught to follow the rules. But what if we don’t? Linkner pointed out that “too often we overestimate the risk of trying something new” and that some rules may be meant to be broken. A bank in Poland used this ideology to take a new approach to ATMs. Typically, the machines are placed at brick-and-mortar locations, but using an “Uberization” approach, they created a mobile ATM model. As a result of thinking creatively and “breaking the rules”, the bank’s new service became wildly successful.
If your organization is looking to solve a problem or create a new opportunity, it is critical to look around at what others within your industry are doing. Even more importantly, borrowing techniques and ideas from companies innovating in different industries can help solve your own challenges.
Seek the Unexpected:
What happens when Plan A, B and C aren’t working? Move on to Option X! Linkner believes that doing the unexpected can solve difficult problems. He provided an example of a bicycle business whose bikes were always arriving damaged to customers. Solutions such as special delivery services were all too expensive; however, the bikes were packaged similarly and weighed the same amount as TVs. The company started delivering them with TV images on the box – and their damage rates were reduced by 70%.
Option X, while unconventional, can end up saving the day. Sometimes unorthodox or “weird” business ideas are often the ones that can truly move the needle and allow progress to be made possible.
Fall 7 Times Stand 8:
Life has its setbacks and bumps in the road – but when you fall, it’s important to rise back up. Linkner shared the example of Jack Ma, who was denied over and over again when applying for various jobs and college programs. But Ma kept going, which launched him to success as the creator of Alibaba, the international e-commerce and technology conglomerate. He is now the wealthiest man in China.
The real DNA of innovation starts from within. The ability to rise from setbacks starts by applying tenacity and determination – all of which fuel momentum toward business success.
In order for any organization to succeed, a fresh approach is needed to meet the demands of the dynamically changing and challenging business environment. And no matter your job function or where you sit on an organizational chart, you have the ability to expand the definition of innovation into everyday creativity. And generating those fresh ideas can help businesses stay connected to their customers and drive organizational growth.
How are you injecting innovative ideas and creativity into your business?