My understanding of how to become “innovative” changed last week. And in a very good way. It changed because what I have been “feeling” about innovation was finally explained to me in very simple terms and it made so much sense I wanted to share it with everyone who is also thinking about how to create more innovation inside their organization.
Rick and I have been trying to dissect the formula for innovation for some time now. While we feel like we have made some major strides, there are still some missing pieces. Maybe we’ve been trying to hatch a fully adult-sized goose instead of nurturing the fragile gosling. Let me explain…
INSPIRATION…that is the word that has eluded us as we talk about how to become more innovative. Finding a way to foster inspiration is the gosling. I recently came across a fantastic lecture from Simon Sinek when he presented at TED where he specifically addresses core motivation, or more precisely…the WHY. His premise is that “People don’t buy what you do, or how you do it – they buy why you do it.” They buy the passion, the inspiration, the drive behind why you do what you do. He shared examples of what made organizations and people, like Apple, Inc., Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Wright Brothers so successful in what they did. It was because they had the inspiration and passion for answering the “WHY question” and it helped them reach places no one else could reach.
He boiled it down to one simple phrase, “The goal is not to do business with everybody that needs what you have, the goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.” Mr. Sinek developed something he calls the “Golden Circle” which consists of three concentric circles with the outer circle the “what,” the middle is the “how,” and the center is the “why.” The further you work your way into the center, the more difficult it can be to define your answer. “What” is relatively easy to express but “how” and finally “why” can be increasingly challenging to identify. The “why” is a concentrated, defined motive with the ability to inspire those around you.
Our mission – continue to work on the “why,” for our own business, our employees, and our customers. This will not only drive much of our employees “inspiration” but will give everyone a much clearer focus and stronger drive to be the best innovators they can be. Thanks Simon…simple is better!