Yeah, yeah… I already know what you’re thinking. Young leaders are innovative. Young leaders have great ideas. Young leaders are seeing things that older leaders can’t see.
You’d be right. Young leaders are all of those things.
Young leaders are innovative. Young leaders generate great ideas. Young leaders have insane vision for the future.
But young leaders can be even more innovative (and influential) with a few tweaks.
Thomas Edison was the inventor of the light bulb. But even before the light bulb people couldn’t say Edison wasn’t innovative. He had hundreds, if not thousands, of patents and many ideas that he was still testing.
He was innovative. He was creative. He was the man.
We can see with Edison that even though he was an innovator, he always found ways to be even more innovative.
So, let’s see how young leaders can be more innovative than they already are.
1. Stop playing it safe: From safer playground equipment to safer toys to improved vehicles, younger generations have been taught it’s better to be safe than to take a risk.
If you want to be innovative as a young leader, you’ve got to rid yourself of the mindset of safety. Innovative leaders take the unseen path and forge ahead into dangerous territories.
Are you willing to stop playing it safe and take a risk? You better be if you’re wanting to be innovative.
2. Risk failure: Edison is the perfect example of risking failure. His attempt to create the light bulb, Edison failed thousands of times. Though he didn’t quantify the tries as failures, many people would consider the lessons he learned as a failure.
Don’t be someone who is always avoiding failure. Failure is a valuable learning tool. Find it, use it, and move on.
3. Copy others: Whoa! Hold up there partner! Did I really say to copy others to become more creative? I did and I strongly believe it.
There are millions of great ideas in the world. Men much wiser than me have created some pretty awesome things. I can only hope to create great things like these men.
When I first began to write, I tried to copy the styles of the writers I enjoyed reading. I’d follow their formats. I’d mimic styles. I’d try to become them.
From this experience, I learned how to write better. Even more, I learned how to become innovative in how I used what they taught me.
Look for things you can copy. Begin making your copy of them. Then look for ways to improve.
4. Go outside your expertise: Much of the advice you’ll hear on being successful revolves around cutting out entertainment and focusing solely on business. Read business books. Attend seminars around your business. Take courses closely related to what you want to do.
Doing this will only give you the latest information on what’s in your arena. Take a step outside of your arena and look at other areas of life that are rocking it out.
Take an art class. Go to the movies (you know I attend quite a few of those). Take in a local concert.
Find something that will stir your soul. Stirring your soul can stir your imagination. And that leads to innovation.
5. Step away from your computer: Computers are great inventions. They help us communicate to a much larger audience but they can also hold us back.
Social media will draw your attention. The next blog post you have to write will keep calling you back. You might even find 5 people to chat with on Skype.
That’s cool. But it’s not going to get your creative juices flowing.
Turn off the computer. Open the door. And step out into the real world.
Breathe it in and look at what’s around you. See the innovations in nature. See the innovative architecture. See wonders all around you.
Then begin to relate them to what you’re doing. You’ll be amazed at how innovative you can become just by stepping outside.
6. Build something: A great joy of mine growing up was building model cars and planes. There was something relaxing about following the instructions and creating a plastic replica of a B-52 bomber.
It also engaged the mind. Thought had to go into the paint job and the gluing and the putting together of the model.
My mind got going during this creation process. Yours can too.
7. Connect with others: There’s much value in connecting with others, whether they’re inside or outside of your target market.
When we connect with others, bonds are formed and ideas are shared. Through the sharing of ideas, you can get advice and share advice on how to make these ideas better.
Be willing to form connections and stimulate ideas.
It’s not so hard to be innovative as a young leader. You’ve just got to be willing to do what it takes to be innovative. Are you willing?