The “innovation revolution” that has redefined our lives has been in full swing for some time now. But 2015 might well be remembered as the year when profound, disruptive innovation became the new business model for success.
Those companies that regularly practiced innovative thinking, and embraced bold, game-changing visions and a fearless disregard for norms and conventions have thrived this year-while many companies that clung desperately to the status quo and traditional ways of thinking, lost market share and slipped further into irrelevance.
Many of today’s most successful and fastest-growing companies and brands, such as Uber, Airbnb, Under Armour, Chipotle, and eyewear retailer Warber Parker, just to name a few, are not only radically transforming their markets and industries, but also building huge, loyal followings of consumer advocates and brand evangelists.
As the year comes to an end, we invite you to take a few minutes to look back and reflect on your innovative thinking activities, and how well you, your team, business or organization did in achieving your innovation-related goals.
How successful was your innovative thinking in 2015? Take this simple test and find out.
Think for a moment about your brand, product, service, business process or model. Then answer the questions below, giving yourself one point for each “yes” answer.
During the past year…
- You offered and communicated a distinctly unique and compelling vision and bold strategy for success.
- You and your organization maintained a business environment that encouraged workers to try new things, experiment, and even fail.
- You quickly responded to customer feedback, changing market conditions and your competition.
- You and your company regularly made incremental, evolutionary, or revolutionary changes to your goods, services, or processes.
- You continuously observed and took note of world events and market conditions, and considered how they might lead to new, more innovative possibilities.
- You and others in your company regularly demonstrated strong associative thinking ability- by making new associations and connections between seemingly unrelated problems and ideas in order to formulate new ideas.
- You expanded your perspective in search of new opportunities by inviting contributions from a diverse group of people with different backgrounds and experiences.
- You and your company embraced bold, new ideas, and then rapidly prototyped and tested them to learn what would work and what needed improvement.
- You were good at getting to the heart of problems (rather than focusing on symptoms), and then finding effective solutions that worked.
- You and your organization consistently worked to provide greater value and benefit in everything you did and offered.
To determine how you did in 2015, add up the number of statements that apply to you and see how you scored.
If you scored 7 or higher, congratulations-you and your company are highly innovative.
If you scored 5 or higher, you already possess many of the qualities necessary for becoming an innovative organization. Keep looking for ways to strengthen those areas that are ripe for improvement.
If you scored 4 or fewer, no don’t panic. You now know some important areas you can work to improve, and transform into a world-class innovator. By strengthening your organization’s “Innovation DNA,” you’ll be creating an exciting and compelling vision for the future, committing to thinking differently, embracing new ideas, and fostering an environment that encourages experimentation and out-of-the-box thinking.
Start making incremental changes to your innovative thinking approach today-and get ready for a transformative year ahead.