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Innovation: Get Inspired, Be Inspiring

I started the year talking about innovation and how we all can be innovators. Great innovators are ordinary people, like you and me, doing extraordinary things.

Over the course of this year, we will have explored the four critical components that all great innovators possess. In the first blog of this series, I highlighted how innovators are extremely intentional. When we are intentional we decide WHAT we are going to do.  Once we have inspiration we can then add the WHY behind the innovation.

Get Inspired

True Innovators must inspire others to take action on their ideas.  However, in order to be an inspiring person, you yourself have to be inspired.  And let’s face it, that’s not always easy.  From time to time we can all find ourselves in a rut and in need of inspiration.  Despite popular belief, inspiration doesn’t just hit you one day like a tidal wave; it doesn’t only happen when you are sitting on a beach or atop a mountain.  Rather, it arrives in small, incremental doses, and through everyday actions and people.  It must be captured and maximized.  Inspiration is critical to innovation because when we feel inspired we draw great ideas, great people, and great energy towards us.

Different people are inspired in different ways.  For some it may be reading an inspirational quote, for others it may be reviewing the progress that they have made toward their goal.  Some people self-motivate by reminding themselves of all of the people along the way that said they couldn’t.  Conversely, others motivate themselves by reminding themselves that someone along the way believed that they could.  Whether it is a parent, a child, or a best friend, it is important to remember that we are all someone’s hero.  That thought can serve as a huge source of inspiration.  It reminds us that even in our moments of self-doubt, we should see ourselves as our loved ones see us.  The beauty of inspiration is that it can come from everyday people and everyday situations.  We just have to know how and where to look for it.

We’re all inspired in some way, but true innovators do something with their inspiration: They put it into action, which, in turn, inspires others.

Be Inspiring

How many times have you seen someone with a great idea, but you just can’t buy into the person? The reality is that we buy into the person before we buy into the idea. That’s why innovators have to be inspiring. Great people have great ideas all day, every day, but you can’t get them pushed through if you can’t inspire others to act on it.

People like Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey and Walt Disney didn’t wait for that perfect moment; instead, they took the moment and made it perfect. I hope that one day we’re all able to do something incredibly innovative such as finding the cure for cancer, but today, a plethora of everyday problems exist that need to be fixed. Innovation doesn’t have to be invention; it can be the reinvention of an age old idea with new energy and inspiration.

Innovators must get inspired and discover the why behind what they want to do.   When you understand your what and can communicate your why, you are ready to innovate.