In today's high pace culture, we all feel the pinch of staying relevant and keeping up with technology…it's a feat even for 14 and a half year olds (watch this video if you don't believe me). Here's a story to help us illustrate the tension of innovation...
There’s was a longtime handyman named Sam who was once offered a full-time job by a mill owner who was having problems with muskrats at the mill’s dam. The owner asked Sam to rid the mill of the pests and even provided a rifle for him to do the job.
Sam was ecstatic because it was the first steady work with a regular paycheck that he’d ever gotten.
One day, several months later, a friend came to visit Sam. He found him sitting on a grassy bank, the gun across his knees.
“Hey, Sam. Whatcha doin’?” he asked.
“My job, guarding the dam.”
His friend looked over at the dam, and just at that moment a muskrat appeared.
“There’s one!” the friend exclaimed. “Shoot him!”
Sam didn’t move. Meanwhile, the muskrat scurried away.
“Why the heck didn’t you shoot him?”
“Are you crazy?” replied Sam. “Do you think I want to lose my job?”
Ever feel like a dam guard? If you make something happen (aka innovate) you might jeopardize your job? I bet you have. In fact, many of my audiences wrestle with this innovation tension. People fail to innovate for fear of innovating themselves out of a job.
The Millennials will bring more and more innovation as they continue to pour into the marketplace. Today, you will be more at risk if you choose not to innovate. Because today's culture is so bent on innovation, we hurt our organizations and customers by neglecting innovation. Ignorance falls flat in an innovative culture.
5 Steps to Become a Next Generation Innovator:
- Read. Spend 15-30min every morning reading (or watching video) about shifts in technology and culture. Try www.mashable.com (my favorite), www.techcrunch.com, www.ted.com or find a robust channel on YouTube you enjoy.
- Snoop. At the movies or grocery, pay attention to what apps or ways of communication the younger generations are utilizing. For those that have kids, you're surrounded by unassuming innovators everyday - take advantage.
- Play. Take 15-30min every week to play with some of the new tools or trends you learned. Most are free and mobile enabled!
- Reflect. How do the changes and shifts you learned mirror our desires as a society? Discuss with friends and family the perceived advantages or disadvantages and how they apply to you.
- Repeat. Consistency wins. Make it a habit.
Keeping up doesn't have to be so daunting. It takes intentionality and a learner's mindset. I urge you to stop questioning the validity of technology changes and instead begin thinking how to incorporate the changes.
Do not be content with the status quo. Commit to cutting the innovation tension and learn to thrive thru innovation so you can become the needed next generation catalyst.
Question: How will you innovate today?