Tue, 22 May 2018
Being content may be a positive emotion in some senses. Not so with innovation. If you are ready to rest on your laurels after a triumph or a stressful circumstance, get ready. Major change could be looming around the corner. Let me explain why I believe being content can be the enemy of innovation.
First, consider what being content means. Feelings of peace, calm, acceptance of where we are in life, happiness, satisfaction. Doesn’t sound too bad. The problem comes when we embrace contentment to the point of giving up. We don’t want to let go of being content. Therefore, we avoid conflict, stress or anything that may rock the boat and shake up the status quo.
Innovation is the antithesis of stasis. It’s about being tuned in to what’s wrong with the picture. Not just seeing the problems but seeking ways to improve on things. When we are fixed on being content, we develop a false sense that change is slowing down. It’s at this time that we will miss the weak signals, subtle signs that major change is coming down the pike.
A false sense of satisfaction is its own form of an innovation antibody. This state of being content will cause you to shy away from change and avoid risk. You will trade off the challenges of innovation, going against the grain, for that easy feeling. Being content becomes the enemy of innovation. True innovators are not content.
Three or four times across my life I’ve slipped into this state of being content. That is, I felt satisfied and turned on autopilot. Rather than being active, engaged and looking for new ways and new directions to move, I put blinders on and checked out. The content feelings were short lived. I was taken off guard. Some major change in the world around me took me by surprise. The contentment quickly dissolved.
Don’t get caught off guard. Here’s what you can do to keep the enemy of innovation at bay.
There are always problems to be solved. Find a problem. Then go innovate a way to fix it.
Five Minutes to New Ideas
Some products or services evoke strong emotional responses. They are either loved by devoted fans or hated by others. Plenty of companies trade on the fact that mainstream culture will find their product offensive or questionable.
Is there any benefit or purpose to being strategically disliked by some and adored by select devotees? Listen to Five Minutes to New Ideas to hear why you might consider this approach.
The Killer Innovations podcast is produced by The Innovators Network.
Direct download: Being_Content_is_the_Enemy_of_Innovation_S14_Ep11.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 7:22am PST