Innovation is a skill.
And like any skill it requires practice, the right tools and encouragement.
This means that any manager or leader or team can learn how to become a small wins innovator.
Perhaps the best way to truly understand this approach is to remember what it was like to learn how to drive.
New skills are acquired step by step.
Over say a 12 month period a would-be driver has to learn how to:
– turn on the car
– adjust the mirrors
– negotiate traffic
– obey the road rules
– do a 3 point turn
– successfully complete a reverse park
– drive at night time etc etc
Notice how one experience leads to another.
Each is a small wins which gives the driver confidence to step up to another level.
Note also that people don’t become a great driver overnight.
They need to practice everyday.
The emotional journey.
Also notice the ups and downs of the would-be driver.
There is apprehension, confusion to start with then a growing confidence.
There are periods of discomfort e.g. driving at night but after a while there is a feeling of accomplishment.
It is exactly the same with innovation.
For too long creativity and innovation is something that is done a few times per year in a brainstorming or annual planning day.
But imagine trying to learn how to drive for example by taking the car for a spin a few times per year.
This is crazy thinking.
Innovation like any like skill needs to be practiced regularly.
There needs to be a growing confidence as your skills and experience grows.
Innovation as a skill, capability and culture can only be achieved by a series of continuous small wins.
Otherwise it will remain a dormant, undeveloped, latent opportunity.