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Reminder: Frustration is a Gift!

I am so frustrated! Do you find yourself saying so (feeling frustrated) at times at your work? Frustration is actually a Gift!You know why?

To find out, ask a question: Is your frustration new or old?

You have only two choices.

Virgin Atlantic Chief Sir Richard Branson says, “Innovation is often born out of frustration”. (Wait! It’s NOT a cliché. We’ll shortly discuss the easy way to achieve Innovation in YOUR business, at YOUR office).

And frustration is a gift as therein is your opportunity to pick from one of the two choices. As Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, celebrity author of Abundance | The Future is Better Than You Think says:

  1. Disrupt or

  2. Be Disrupted

Innovation WILL disrupt status quo at your business. And if you choose not to innovate, it WILL disrupt your business and most likely your life!

If you do feel frustrated, it is a positive sign that you need to innovate.

Merriam Webster dictionary defines “Innovation” as the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods.

Innovation does NOT mean only a Google Glass or an iPhone. Innovation ultimately means improving the customer experience and delight. Watch this awesome video that innovated as simple a thing as saying thank you!

What Can You Do to Innovate?

  1. Identify WHAT frustrates you and WHY. Is it delay in getting information that frustrates you? Is yes, WHY does it frustrate you? Is it because it is just a habit or does it waste billable hours? If it’s the latter, find out WHY there is a delay. Is it because of inadequate tools and resources, is it because of process bottlenecks, is it because of some steps needed to convert data from one form into another or just manual verification of something? What can you do to remove these bottlenecks? Even when you feel what you are currently doing is the best you and your team can, there are always some ideas that can cut down a step, or make things faster or a technology tool that can speed up the handoff.

  2. Remember Innovation is a Process, not a Project: As the folklore goes, at IBM the internal rule was “discard what works!”. In other words, IBM always wants to innovate. So take a process approach towards innovation at your business. Keep introducing new methods and ideas. Take baby steps to improve little by little but ensure that each step is in the direction of your long-term focus.

  3. Embrace Risk: Create at least a small “R&D” capital – not the Research and Development fund but the “Risk and Destruct” one – Risk some of your processes that are “working well” and “destruct” them with new ones. What was working well will NOT disappear. You will be amazed how you lived with those before when you experience new possibilities. And make sure that as a leader, you demonstrate to your team that the risk (of the new experiment or new process or new step) is yours, not theirs. Give them confidence to execute.

  4. Don’t Innovate for the Sake of Innovation: It is fashionable to say you and your business are innovative. Ask one of your employees if he/she felt something innovative is happening at your business in the last month or so. It will tell you a story! If innovation that you plan to implement does not result in measurable benefit to the end client, don’t do it! Have some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) ready to measure the impact of your planned innovation before you start.

  5. Watch Out for Justifying or Doomsday Pitches: Procrastination is a natural habit. When you decide to innovate, there will be several arguments in favor of “status quo”. Current results will justify current processes. New proposals will be met with doomsday predictions. The best way to overcome it? Ask “what will happen if we do it…” and to each answer that you get, ask the same “what will happen then…” question. After about 5 answers, the procrastination imagination runs out of steam! And you would get the real core fear out on the table to be able to realistically address it.

  6. If Necessity is the Mother if Invention, Scarcity is the Mother of Innovation: When you are stuck due to inadequate resources, capital or anything else, you will get frustrated (remember: frustration is a gift!) and you look for ways to get things done anyway. So watch out for scarcity. You can deliberately reduce resources in some steps, departments etc. to introduce intentional scarcity to see if productivity increases, waste of time reduces and so on. But there is a fine line between constructive pressure and destructive pressure. Make a judgment call and always go at least one step beyond your own comfort level to create that artificial scarcity. And watch out, if you keep taking steps back, it will become a culture and then no one will pay any heed to your innovation initiatives.

Think your product, service or business is too commoditized to try innovation? Contact us for a free discussion about what you can do to innovate your business.

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