By Leanne Hoagland-Smith | Sun Times | October 27, 2012
The Society of Innovators recently presented its Eighth Annual Awards at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond. Sitting in the audience and listening to the recipients share their stories, I realized innovation is truly M.A.G.I.C.A.L. because of the following seven elements.
1. Mentors are an essential element or capacity within innovation. For without the wisdom of others, that second pair of eyes, that support both emotionally and in some cases financial, the innovation simply would not happen.
2. Attitudes abounded in the shared stories. Without strong positive attitudes or, as Zig Ziglar defined them, “habits of thought,” the achievements I heard simply would not have happened.
3. Goals and innovation are intertwined much like the strands of DNA. Innovators see a desired result at almost the vanishing point of the horizon and then set goals to get closer and closer to that result. Sometimes they succeed and sometimes they fail.
4. Initiative is the second step in the process. Someone takes action to build that better mousetrap and is not held back by the attitudes of those who say it cannot be done.
5. Commitment to finish the innovation is also at hand. As Thomas Edison is quoted as saying, “I know 1,000 different ways not to invent the light bulb.” Without being committed to the initial initiative and making the goal happen, innovation would still only be an idea in someone’s mind.
6. Awareness is the first step of any innovation. Unless one is aware of a situation, one cannot make it better, cannot improve it. Awareness was exemplified by a past award recipient, Arcelor Mittal Global R&D Center for the “S-in Motion.”
This team, headed by Dr. Blake K. Zuidema, realized that the emphasis on non-steel items being placed into vehicles to increase miles per gallon was spelling doom for the steel industry especially here in Northwest Indiana. Zuidema’s team produced a safe car made from steel that could meet the current EPA miles per gallon standards.
7. Loving life creates the energy to make innovation possible. All of the award recipients demonstrated a great love of life toward family members, employees, mentors, customers, community and friends.
Yes, innovation is indeed truly magical. And the best part is each of us as small business owners; entrepreneurs to professionals have those magical elements. All that is required is to schedule some time for reflection and asking yourself how can you “build a better mousetrap?”
Note: The M.A.G.I.C.A.L. acronym was developed by Leanne Hoagland-Smith and Laura Novakowski.This article has been edited for the purpose of this blog. Read the full article here. Photo Courtesy Sun-Times Media