“Fresh activity is the only way of overcoming adversity.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
What better time is there to examine fresh ideas than at the dawn of a new year? As any company (or person) grows, it faces a certain degree of adversity. Some call it “growing pains” and to be sure, at times, it can be indeed, painful. That’s why growth, both personally and in business, requires fresh ideas.
From my own experience, I can tell you there is nothing more like fingernails on a chalkboard than hearing the phrase, “well, that’s the way we’ve always done it.” That one line is a death sentence to innovation, so please, put it out of your head. No wait, let me retract that. Before you put that tired old phrase out of your head, think about the things you do every day at your job that you do for no other reason than because, “that’s the way you’ve always done it”, then ask yourself, “Could there be a better way?”
Here is my challenge to you. As you go through your day today doing your daily routines, ask yourself why you are doing that routine the way you are doing it. If the only answer you can come up with is, “that’s the way I’ve always done it”, then ask yourself if there might be a better way. Try something different. You just might surprise yourself with what you come up with. There were once two brothers that owned a bicycle shop. There is no doubt that bicycles were an important part of their lives, but they thought there might be a better way to get from one place to another so Orville and Wilbur Wright invented air travel. There was another fellow who thought there might be a better way to manufacture things, so Henry Ford invented the assembly line.
Sometimes, whenever you start looking for a better way to do something, you just might discover something totally unexpected. That’s what happened to Christopher Columbus when he wanted to find a shorter route to India. Little did he know when he set out to change things just much he was going to change things.
You may not make an earth shattering discovery or create a life changing invention, but even small changes can have a big impact. If you have a daily task that now takes 30 minutes each day and by re-thinking things you discover you can complete the task in 25 minutes, you’re going to free up over 2 hours per month that can be spent doing something else. Or maybe your new innovation won’t save any time but it might make a current task much easier or keep things much more organized. You may even try a new idea and find it doesn’t work at all. That’s okay too. Thomas Edison found more than 3,000 ways to build a light bulb that wouldn’t work before he found a way to build one that did work. The point is, you won’t know until you try – until just once – you don’t do something the way you’ve always done it.
- How Goethe can change your life – 3 lessons for 2013 (romankrznaric.com)
- 7 Ways to be Creative (innovationmanagement.se)