The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Innovation in Your Day-to-Day Work

Most of the dictionaries define innovation as a new way of doing something. It’s also defined as an incremental, radical, or revolutionary change in products, processes or organizations. However, bringing that mindset to your day-to-day work is something that needs a lot of courage, time, dedication, and support (from your superiors as well as from peers). Work can become boring over a period of time if nothing changes. On day one it may be too complex to even understand what all it is about. But on the fifth or tenth day it becomes manageable--then comes the day when you feel the job is taking you nowhere. This is what happens to more than 99% of the people doing same or similar work every day. The other 1% are able to avoid that boredom by trying to do their work differently or looking for the ways to do it faster or more efficiently. That mindset, that determination to kill the boredom from everyday life, is another kind of innovation.
Everyone wants his work to be interesting and most people want it to be challenging as well. Nobody wants boring work that never changes. Still, most people fail to be innovative. What does it take to be innovative?
Willingness to look for new ways of doing your job
The ability to manage work pressure so that you can analyze what is happening with your job and what needs to change.
Support and encouragement from your supervisor and peers.
As soon as a process or a work methodology becomes an everyday job without any significant changes, then it is probably a good time to start thinking about bringing
innovation into the job. I believe it is good to be selfish in this regard. If innovation happens, then anyone can generalize it for the betterment of the organization. Not everyone may be innovative but they can be very good watchmen. If someone dares to try a new way of doing something and if it works, no one hesitates to start doing it the same way immediately.
Further, I believe innovation cannot come in isolation. In other words, you cannot set up a group of 10 people in the organization to bring innovation into the system. A dedicated group can facilitate or focus on innovative people but cannot bring all the positive changes that the system may need. Innovation needs real people working on real problems in their day-to-day work and identifying the areas that need a different treatment. So, an organization that believes in innovation must make sure to identify innovative people and nurture them in the organization irrespective of the employees’ type of work and role.

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