I’m going to take a break from my robot proofing posts and talk about something which came to me while I was editing the recent episode of the podcast.
I wanted to talk about how important I think it is to allow innovators fly.
The type of person I am
In one of my previous blog posts, I discussed different people’s attitude to change. Some people avoid it, some people hide from it, some people embraced it. Although this not representative of me in real life, I’m not a huge fan of hugging, I am definitely an embracer.
I have one of those minds that takes an idea and invests time and energy into it. I like to see change as an opportunity to try new practices, to try new ideas and to promote new connections. I don’t just adopt new practices blindly, I am incredibly critical and evaluative. But only by fully immersing myself in a new practice can I gain an understanding about what the benefits and disadvantages of the approach would be.
I have to admit, at this point, that I do often need a person to say ‘no’ to me every now and again. My mind is so full of ideas and possibilities that I could not ever be able to engage fully with all my ideas and, and I am aware of this, I do know that some of my ideas might be considered ‘out there’ and when this happens I deserve to be reined in.
However, I often get into situations where the outcome of my innovations are neither recognised or appreciate or, and this is the focus of the blog post, I am not allowed to actually innovate.
Am I really innovating?
By definition (see above) innovating is producing a new method, idea or product. The definition is actually ‘lacking’ in the sense that it does not mention who the ‘new’ is referring to. New to the person themselves, to the community in which they work or even new to the whole world. When looking at doing a doctorate, I remember that someone told me that the outcome has to produce new knowledge. Again, I wonder who this knowledge has to be ‘new’ to.
For me, my innovation comes in the form of a new method. Engaging with technology on a regular basis, I often see how to use technology to bring a new method to things. Away from work I engage with streaming and YouTubing and, if I had the available time at work, I would be keen to engage with these new technologies within my academic work. However, these are not necessarily at the top of the workload list and so, despite my constant determination, they often get pushed lower and lower down on the list until they are eliminated from the ‘to do’ list.
Not all my ‘new methods’ are successful. Someone once told me, and I consider that they were correct, that when you pilot something the outcome should not be predetermined and that the resources ploughed into the pilot might not be recuperable due to the fact that in the end the pilot is proved/decided to be ineffective.
This, for me, is the same for innovation. When a new idea or method comes into my mind, I’m not for one moment stating that it will be a great success. To the contrary, I am actually saying that it could probably fail but without attempting it I would never know.
I am never suggesting that I should be allowed to drop the work I am expected to do – quite the opposite. In my perfect situation there should be space for innovation. This is time where I could try my ideas, see if they work and then provide an evaluation or reflection on the method. Without this opportunity I almost feel stifled and restricted. My mind feels like it should stop generating ideas and just return to the drudgery of ‘normal’ life.
But if I am provided with some time, however small, and the opportunity to work on my ideas then my brain goes into hyper mode. It revels in the opportunity to create new ideas and new methods. It doesn’t become any less critical or reflective, it becomes more engaged with the possibilities. This would be my perfect situation – working in a world where innovation is not only welcomed but valued and allowed.
I’ve initially typed this blog entry in one go so, unless I have edited it and altered the content somewhat, I apologise for the lack of academic style and structure. Sometimes, I just need to let me mind control my fingers to create the content.