Innovation is like taking a BathRecently I came across a quote that applies to some of the problems organizations have with trying to stay innovative. Zig Ziglar stated that, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” In working with companies that are trying to be more innovative, we see the same problem. There will be a big push to be innovative, but as time goes on people go back to their old ways, practices and habits.

It is not that individuals and groups don’t want to be innovative, but we are all really busy with the daily grind. There is work to be done, deadlines to be met and, while innovation will help us reach our long term goals, it can get in the way of what we feel is needed today.

This is one of the reasons we started blogging about innovation. We don’t just want to give people a shot in the arm about innovation, we want to help people make innovation part of their culture. People need to be continually reminded about what they have learned and focus on applying it. There are a number of things we can do regularly that can help us become more innovative. Here are three to think about and apply:

  1. Regularly spend time being creative. If not every day, then often. This is one you can work on individually. Disconnect from what you have to do and spend time doing what you need to do. Read, paint, play an instrument, sing, create, dream, write, go for a walk–what ever you need to do so you will have a more creative mindset.
  2. Make innovation part of the conversation. A good motivational innovation speech, class or presentation is just where you get started. Learn the language of innovation and then use it your discussions. Reward those on your team who are creative, even if you don’t use their idea. The next creative idea might be right around the corner and you want to make sure they are willing to share.
  3. Don’t just talk about being innovative, be innovative. This is where is gets harder, but where you can make a difference. The change has to begin with you. Demonstrate what want done by being creative and innovative. Don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk. As you do this, you will be surprised how much this will change your group for the better.

So spend time every day taking a bath in creativity and innovation. This habit may not make you clean, but it will help you be refreshed and with a little luck find the innovation success you are looking for.

This blog was originally posted January 15, 2015.