Think like an innovator: Yes, we could make that work if…

If you want more success in your innovation initiatives, try thinking like an innovator. Instead of looking for all the reasons why a new idea won’t work, ask yourself: what could I do to make it work? 

“Yes, we could do that if…” rather than “No, we can’t do that because…”

That one small shift will have a huge impact on your process improvement projects.

Here’s how it works. Imagine you’re in a meeting and someone suggests automating your time entry by having items in your Outlook Calendar automatically entered into your timekeeping system. People would start saying things like:

  • No, I couldn’t do that because my assistant puts all kinds of things into my Outlook calendar
  • No, I couldn’t do that because I don’t know how to use Outlook properly (OK, you might not hear that out loud, but someone’s thinking it!)
  • No way, what if the system crashed?

Or my favourite:

  • Oh no, we tried something like that last year and it just didn’t fly…

Everyone would leave the meeting thinking, “Phew! Glad we dodged that one. Imagine what might have happened!”

But imagine what might have happened if the first person had said,

“Yes, that’s a great idea. We could make that work if…” 

..we trained everyone better on Outlook

…we ensured we had the right back-up system

…we could demonstrate to the partnership how much time we’d recover because it’s no longer lost on the back of napkins or forgotten at the end of the week

The mood in that meeting would be completely different. People would be excited. They’d be thinking about change and ready to share their ideas for improvement. They’d be willing to try new ideas, even if those ideas didn’t work the first time.

That’s the innovator’s mind-set. Try it the next time someone suggests something new, and let us know how it goes. We look forward to continuing the conversation.