The work of innovation culminates in execution. But getting there is a journey with hurdles to overcome. You need innovation confidence to face corporate antibodies, deal with setbacks, and keep innovating. Today’s show focuses on how to build innovation confidence. Innovation confidence will help get your ideas off the ground and on track.
Gifted or Skilled
Innovation is not a special gift bestowed on a select few. Innovation is a set of skills and abilities. You can learn, practice, and perfect them. This has been my goal in doing this show for 14 plus years. I want to help you perfect your innovation skills and abilities. What is innovation confidence? It is self-assurance arising from one’s innovation abilities. Building innovation confidence is a process. It takes time and practical experience. Learn the skills and use them in a practical setting. This will build innovation confidence.
To begin building innovation confidence, you need to take stock. Determine your innovation strengths and weaknesses.
Identify your innovation core strengths. Highlight those strengths in your daily work. Find opportunities to leverage them. Others will recognize you as innovative. This will build your innovation confidence. Are there limited opportunities to highlight your strengths in your current role? Volunteer for another team. Seek out a job that allows you to exercise your strengths daily.
Find the weaknesses in your innovation skill sets. Then, improve them.
Some ways to improve weak areas and build innovation confidence:
- Take every opportunity to learn.
- A good start – listening to this show.
- Innovation conferences and YouTube videos are great ways to learn.
- Find a community.
- Seek people who know and encourage innovation.
- We created The Innovators Community for that purpose.
- Learn by doing.
- Gain practical experience.
- Volunteer for a project in your weak area.
Do Something Scary
To build innovation confidence, I challenge you to do this exercise. Try one thing that scares you every day. Getting out of your comfort zone helps tackle the fears holding you back from succeeding in innovation. Fear is False Evidence that Appears Real. With fear, we tend to exaggerate the negative impact of trying something new or different.
This may come as a surprise. I am an introvert. As CTO at HP, I stepped out of my comfort zone to understand customers. I would observe potential HP customers at Best Buy. If a customer looked at HP products, but purchased a competitor’s, I would approach. After handing out my business card, I would ask a few questions. Terrified as I was initially, I found people were nice and willing to give feedback.
What in the innovation skill sets scares you? Try it every day. Get over that fear and build innovation confidence.
Another step to innovation confidence – silence the inner critic. False evidence is that negative self-talk. We tend to be more negative about ourselves than others are. Do you struggle with this? Your inner critic is likely overactive and inaccurate. This ties into my recent TEDx Talk. If you haven’t listened to it, check out my TEDx talk. I cover impostor syndrome. You can find it on YouTube or Philmckinney.com.
So, silence the inner critic to build innovation confidence.
Track the Kudos
Keep track of your successes. I use a Moleskine notebook to do this. It’s a handy way to track things. When confidence dips, you’ll have a reminder of your innovation successes.
Save emails from your boss and others which congratulate your success. Save thank you letters and letters of praise. This can help build innovation confidence. It can be useful when starting a new job.
The More You Sweat, the Less You Bleed
Train like you mean it. To paraphrase a military expression, the more you sweat, the less you bleed. That is to say, work hard now to prevent setbacks later. To become proficient at a skill, it takes about 10,000 hours. That’s working 8 hours a day for 4.7 years. There are ways to condense that training. Tim Ferriss has his method. The Navy SEALS have an intense training that replicates real-life scenarios.
For innovation, experience-based training is optimal. Major universities offer executive certificate programs. These are intense, concentrated, focused programs. Two to three times a year, I teach the Innovation Bootcamp, an intense four-day course, made up of 14 – 16-hour days. Students go through the FIRE (Focus, Ideation, Ranking, Execution) process. The result is a quality output. In some cases, the output is an innovation that gains support and funding.
There are other programs to accelerate learning. Make sure the program delivers a realistic innovation experience. It’s under intense pressure, that you learn.
Another way to accelerate learning – learning from those who’ve experienced it. The Innovators Community offers a place to interact with people who know the innovation ropes.
Balance the Confidence
As you build innovation confidence, don’t tip the balance in the wrong direction. That is, temper your confidence. Understand the risks and have a plan B should things not go as expected. Have the confidence to accept a project you’ve never done, but have a recovery plan if it doesn’t work out. And don’t let confidence lead to arrogance. Nobody wants to work with an arrogant person. So, build innovation confidence, but maintain a balance.
To hear about Building Innovation Confidence, listen to this week's show, How to Build Innovation Confidence S14 Ep44.
Could offering an unfinished product give an advantage? Could it become a selling point? Consider the clever strategy of Build-A-Bear. They win by minimizing the stock in briefly popular products and charging a premium for customers to assemble their own bear. Listen to Five Minutes to New Ideas to discover unique ways to delight your customers.
Five Minutes to New Ideas
Killer Innovations is entering its 15th season on March 5. It is a testimony to endurance and perseverance. Killer Innovations is the longest continuously produced podcast. My mission, to pay it forward, has been the driving force. The past 14 years are devoted to those who have had a profound influence on my career. Guests, guest host Kym McNicholas, and I have shared experiences, lessons learned, and what has inspired us. This show exists to give listeners insights to succeed on the innovation journey. My sincere thanks to the guests, the sponsors, and you, the listeners.