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Innovation; however trite it may sound in the latest management manifesto, it is a truly important word, with so many meanings.  As leaders, we place a high emphasis on success and progress, but how do we get there? How do we achieve success and propel our company forward? Innovation, that’s how!

A quick Google search defines innovation as “a new method, idea, or product.” Now, why is that so vital to our companies? New ideas drive us forward; they are our future. Knowing how to adapt to the ever-changing times is the ultimate key to a successful business. In one of my recent blogs, we talked a great deal about the novel Who Moved My Cheese and the importance of evolving when trouble arises. You simply cannot expect everything to just be all right; you have to work to make it better; you have to create new strategies. This is the very essence of innovation.

We recently came across an article by Simon Sinek, the author of Leaders Eat Last. The blog is actually from a few years ago, but we believe the main message is a universal one; just the title alone intrigues you: “How to Innovate Like a Shark” really captured my attention. The idea behind the blog stems from Spielberg’s iconic horror flick, Jaws. The director really wanted his killer shark attacks to be violent and gory, but because the mechanics just weren’t working the way he wanted them to, the team had to come up with a new solution. They let the audience picture most of the violence, leaving the gore to our own imaginations. This was probably even scarier. I love the way Sinek sums up to whole situation.

“The brilliant way in which Spielberg told the story of Jaws did not happen in a brainstorming session and it was certainly not planned. It was the solution he found when what he wanted wasn’t possible. The malfunctioning robots forced him to find another solution.”

This is innovation! You do not need to have mass quantities of money to have creative ideas; you only need to have a little ingenuity. This ties in with a lot of other topics discussed in the last few years, mainly the idea of engaging your employees. When you engage your employees to their fullest potential, they are more likely to provide you with some top quality innovation.