Not long ago, a person could make a decent living by simply having a strong work ethic, good skills and the willingness to put in the time. People who showed up and completed their regular daily tasks were valued; strength and a willingness to get dirty didn’t hurt either. But today, everyone is expected to be a creative thinker; an innovator. And why shouldn’t they be?
Technology has overtaken many of the jobs centered on labor and basic production, and almost anything we could ever possibly need is at our fingertips – information, ideas, home-delivered groceries and products (soon to be delivered by drones). According to Brown University’s Mark Blyth, we live in a world where everything we need could be easily supplied by 10% of the world’s population. Those odds aren’t great for average-Joes who are just looking to get by.
Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella recently wrote, “our industry does not respect tradition — it only respects innovation.” Although Satya is specifically referring to the technology industry, this statement applies to almost any category of business today. Consumer packaged goods companies are constantly looking for innovative new products to meet consumer desires; health professionals are working on innovative new cures and technologies; gas and oil companies are looking for new innovative fuel sources; and on it goes.
Innovation is simply a different way of looking at things. Anyone can be innovative. It’s a mindset. It also helps if you know how to use data to your advantage. It doesn’t matter if you are just trying to get ahead at work or if your aim is to develop the latest “bright and shiny thing”. Never be satisfied with the status quo and always engage your brain in the world around you. You’ll be amazed at what you see.