Innovation is Everybody’s Business: How to Make Yourself Indispensable in Today’s Hypercompetitive World


innovation.jpgBy Robert B.Tucker  (2011)

In this book, the author mentioned about mastering the 7 essential I-Skills you need to become indispensable. You need to understand the 4 I-Skill Principles :

1. Innovation isn’t about something you do after you get your work done. It’s how you do your work.

2. Innovation is about more than inventing new products. It’s about figuring out how to add value where you are .

3. You can innovate in any job, any department or any organization.

4. Innovation is about taking action.

You need a strategy to develop your innovation. Here are 4 critical components to design that strategy :

  1. Identify where you are and where you want to go.
  2. Learn the business side of your organization.
  3. Understand your company’s culture.
  4. Pull it all together.


These are the 7 I-Skills
1. Embrace the Opportunity Mindset
– You add value to every task and every project.
– Noticing is essential to opportunity discovery.
– What would it look like if you did the reverse? When you do this on purpose, you embrace what I call the opportunity mindset. You make it a point to notice not only what is but what could be.

How to invoke this skill?
1. Learn to consciously shift your perspective.
2. Think small.
3. Listen for “there’s got to be a better way” mutterings.
4. Pay attention to happy accidents.
5. Look for problems customers have that aren’t being solved.
6. Look for opportunities to eliminate non value adding work.
7. Think big.
2. Become an Assumption Assaulter
– Blast away at personal, organizational, and industry notions that block progress.
– Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once said “The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him. The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

How to invoke this skill?
1. Remember that innovation often begins where assumptions end. So talk back to the voices in your head that emerge out of defeatist, sustainer, and dreamer modes of thinking. Cultivate a questioning mindset. Asking questions is the most powerful spur to jump-start new thinking.

2. If you don’t like the choices on the table, ask yourself (and others) what a third or fourth choice might look like.

3. Cultivate a Passion for the End Customer
– Everything you create is your product and every product has a customer.

How to invoke this skill?
1. Understand the business you are in.
2. Develop empathy for the customer.
3. Strive for a big picture perspective.
4. Take on the customer’s problem.
5. Treat your boss like a customer.

4. Think ahead of the curve
– Notice trends, anticipate threats, and discover hidden opportunities.

How you need to think ahead of the curve?
1. Audit your information diet.
2. Think of yourself as the eyes and ears of your organization.
3. Build your information and support networks.
4. Seek out forward-thinking, idea oriented people.
5. Master the art of deep dive.
6. Develop your point of view on key issues.
7. Connect the dots.
8. Give people permission to give you bad news.

How to invoke this skill?
1. Monitor trends close at hand.
2. Learn to separate fads from trends.
3. Don’t wait for senior management to come to you and explain how they think you and your department can help them invent the future or implement a new culture.

4. Start observing trends and applying them to your life and work with penetrating questions.


5. Become an idea factory
– Scarcity creates value ; value creates indispensability.

How to invoke this skill?
1. Take the time to inspect your idea factory now. Do it now and periodically in the months and years ahead. Look not just the ideas you are generating, but at what is happening with those ideas. If you’ve gotten bogged down by the minutia of tactical execution, shift consciously into Innovator Mode. Reread your personal innovation strategy and coax yourself to come up with ideas to move you forward.
2. Become conscious of when an issue you must deal with, a decision you must make or an opportunity you wish to maximize would benefit from unitasking.

3. Know yourself in terms of the time of day and specific locations that often produce a flood of ideas.

4. Do plan to take a Doug day. Put it on the calendar and take it seriously.

6. Become a standout collaborator
– Galvanize teams and departments to get new initiatives done.

How to invoke this skill?
1. Have an eye on the bigger picture. Keep an eye on reputation, results and residuals.

7. Build the buy-in for new ideas.
– You need to have powerful methods to build buy-in for new ideas example by doing your homework, let others think it was their idea, customize their communication style, make it safe for buyers to say yes, focus on benefits and overcoming resistance, use the power of stories, cross boundaries to build support for your idea, be persistent.

How to invoke this skill?
1. Try to anchor your idea in as many places inside the company, and with as many customers that are important outside the company.
2. Ask yourself whether
– your idea is aligned with sphere of influence, track record and overall reputation?
– Is timing right?
– Have I sown plenty of seeds and educated influential people on the merits of making this change?
– Who has actually used this idea and what have the results been?
– What info or expertise do I need to obtain to accomplish this goal?

Mark Twain once said, “I’m all for progress. It’s change that I don’t like.” Learn to enjoy the journey from idea to implementation because your idea quest will almost always end up someplace that you didn’t quite expect.



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