I think I have a curse. No really, I do! It would appear that I am never happy with what I am doing. I always want to improve, try new things and push boundaries. I like to sum up all these and label myself an innovator. Many might see this as a beneficial trait, but I have started to see this as a curse. Why? Well, that is what this blog post is all about.
Innovation and Value
Initially, I thought this might be a valid way to start off this blog post, with a definition. The dictionary gives a very simple definition of innovation – apart from the act of innovating which I think is just avoiding the question.
a new method, idea, product, etc.
The use of ‘etc’ made me smile here since I was always told that ‘etc’ meant, there are more possibilities but I am not prepared to list them all or that I can’t remember what they are!Not completely happy with this short and slightly ambiguous definition I turned once more to Google and found a link which presented how fifteen expert innovators define the word. This is supported with some very nice images as well. Reading through these, there appeared to be a real focus on ‘value’. This could be delivered by profits or customer service. Added value is so difficult to evaluate since so many people encounter new ideas in different ways and respond completely differently. They do provide a summary definition, which reads as…
Did the podcasts I produced to support the students provide add value? To some of the listeners, hopefully, yes, to all of them, probably no. But does innovation have to add value?
Innovation and predicting
As new ideas come to me, I’m often asked whether they will have value. What will be the impact? Although I could probably state what I hoped the added value would be, I can never be sure. Sometimes I have tried something new and it has been a disaster other times it’s been successful. Often I cannot measure the ‘impact’ or the ‘value’. Innovation for me is unpredictable. When I have an idea, I have some indication of why I would like to do it and how I see it being helpful, but I can never truly and honestly describe or present the impact. Sometimes the only impact is that I have learnt more.
The curse of innovation
So why is innovation a curse? Well for me, I tend to spend my time trying to convince people to take a risk with the idea. While doing this I appear to come across as some kind of mad inventor! I get asked to draw up business plans, to justify the expenditure, to describe and quantify possible value and profits. I understand that these are probably needed, but I see them as huge brick walls which are frantically erected to present a hurdle for me, while carrying my idea, to climb over. (I’m slipping into creative writing…)
As I face brick wall after brick wall, my ideas clinging onto my back, slowly losing their grip, I just become more and more despondent. Eventually, as the idea loses its grip and slips off into oblivion, I return to the starting point and vow never again to try something new. And this is when the curse hits me. My brain doesn’t let me stop. Within days, sometimes hours, a new idea has sprung into my head. And, yet again, with it clinging to my back, I approach the walls of bureaucracy, knowing that the walls are still there for me to climb over.
From the ashes
I have the awful habit of posting tweets when I am down. Living by myself, I like to voice my thoughts to the TwitterSphere, if only for someone to reply to my tweet by saying -‘Get a Grip!’. There are many sayings which voice the action of getting back onto the horse when you have fallen off and twitter did come to my support!
I’m already feeling better about things, but I have that nagging feeling in the back of my mind which says, just stay quiet, say nothing, suggest nothing and focus not on work, but on my content creation outside work. This would definitely mean that I hit less brick walls, but whether I will be happier at work, that remains to be seen.
The future -with a quote
I know I am a bit of a wild card. I’m unpredictable, a small voice, who doesn’t always tow the party line. A headteacher once said he preferred me on his side of the debate rather than opposing him. I don’t go looking for arguments but I do like to challenge, and part of that challenge are my ideas which I class as being innovating. I have wondered what I would like people to say in response. At times, the answer is just ‘no’ or ‘it won’t work’ (supported with evidence I hope), but at times, I would like people to say – ok, let’s give it a go and, instead of building walls, building ladders to help me and my idea over the walls. It might not work, it might be brilliant, but that is always the joy of trying something new, the unpredictability.
And maybe, just maybe, people could, in the words of ABBA; “take a chance on me….”