Innovation is the engine of growth in this fast-changing, unpredictable world. But it’s hard. All studies show that new product launches have a high failure rate, often as high as 95%. So, how do you tip the odds in your favour? How can you create a climate where new ideas will thrive?
Susan Cain’s book ‘Quiet’ has had a big influence on me. It’s a manifesto in support of the world’s introverts and how to make the most of their talents. You get a sense of the book from her inspiring TED talk – here. I spend much of my working life facilitating workshops, standing in front of people and telling them what to do. Despite this, I’m an introvert. (really, it’s true!) I have a lot of sympathy for introverts who attend workshops.
One of my favourite Ted talks is by Elizabeth Gilbert entitled ‘Your elusive creative genius'. She discusses her creative journey and how she goes about producing her work. She describes the ‘utterly maddening capriciousness of the creative process'. Will she ever produce a piece of work as successful as ‘Eat, Pray Love?', she asks herself. Probably not, she admits.
Back in 2007 I was running a 2 day training programme with the Cadbury’s UK marketing team in one of the usual off-site locations. At the end the Marketing Director said to me, ‘do you mind if I show the team a new Dairy Milk ad that we’re thinking of running’. He put his CD into my laptop and played it on the big screen. It featured a man in a gorilla suit playing along to the Phil Collins song ‘In the Air Tonight’. And that was basically it. Then he turned to the room and asked ‘What do you think? Shall we run this?’’
I recently read Daniel H Pink’s book ‘To Sell is Human’. It was written in 2013, but I’ve only just discovered it. One of the many things I really enjoyed about the book is the section on how to pitch ideas. It’s something we all have to do, no matter what our role, so it’s important that we master how to do it well.
I’ve a huge admiration for the creatives of the world, those people who produce work of amazing originality. However, they’re not born creative, they become creative. And like most things in life you develop and grow through the habits you adopt. Here’s a few suggestions of their habits that you could consider adopting.