Ideas, Innovation and Change

How many times have you done something that is routine, repetitive and needs to be changed but you keep on the same path over and over again? Work that is assigned to you that has too many unnecessary steps to accomplish, taken a route in the same old vehicle just because you always have, talked to a friend about things that they like and never try to expand the conversation to something you like, gone to a bar after work because drinking is how you socialize, or talked to a large company about their products when you are having difficulty and all they do is tell you what they are not able to do.

Patterns and processes are what help us survive, help us handle the world; we create cycles, repeated patterns which allow us to learn about and manage life. But sometimes those survival techniques can make our world small—limited in scope—and we become unable to change.

We idolize people who have created change: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Leonardo da Vinci. We read about how they innovate, make changes and create new products and processes… but how can we do that?

First things first, open your mind to the idea of change. Change is not something to fear; it is something to embrace. Don’t be afraid of failing; each of the people mentioned above failed in many different ways, but succeeded in others. The key is that they tried something new: a new approach, a new process and a new way of thinking about everyday things. Steve Jobs did not invent the cell phone, Bill Gates the computer or Leonardo siege weapons; they perfected them. Change is an evolution of processes.

If you think change is for big things or big ideas, you’re wrong. BIG may be more interesting and more dramatic, but you can easily make a big mistake. In the search for change, people may run away, leave long-term relationships, a good job, even a country. Or they may try to do something even more radical or difficult, and then fail faster than they should because they have no planning, support or resources.

Create a habit of change in your life on a daily basis. In manageable ways.

Make small changes. Look around and ask yourself what you can do to make your life easier today.  What can you do that will change a process or an action that will save you time and produce better results? Companies are built by human beings; they evolve processes that work, then institutionalize them. Time moves on and the world changes around them, but they still stick to the same process—even if it doesn’t work anymore. Why? Staff members may be afraid to suggest change because there is not a culture of open dialogue or managers resist change because it threatens their position or authority. So the staff, and eventually the client, suffers, and the company fails. Look at the media industry. They saw change coming but resisted; newspapers are shells of what they once were; video stores are disappearing and radio is trying to find new markets. Look up the story of the Sony Walkman (they perfected the device rather than changing to new digital media). It’s interesting how they tried to perfect, rather than change, their product when they saw the cassette and CD world disappearing. The same for Blockbuster which dominated the customer direct video industry.

I have been fortunate to have been involved in many different businesses in my lifetime. I had to learn to evolve and change on a regular basis. But I still find myself falling back into patterns that are unsuccessful, so for me, change is a constant process, something that cannot be forgotten and something that I need to focus on every day. Change is a tool of survival—the same as our ability to create patterns—and in our fast-paced, information-filled world, it is more important than ever to our survival.

Some tips to help you make positive changes in your life and in your job:

  • Ask questions. Why am I doing this function? What should the outcome be? Can I change the process to be more efficient or to produce better results? Is it logical?
  • Pare everything down to its essence or core. The high level description can be helpful because you strip away everything that you or others have added or built into the process over time. Then see what should be done—not what was done.
  • Try to gain an understanding from all perspectives. When you do your work, do you tick off a box just to get the job done? Do you understand what you are doing or are meant to do? Do you understand your client and the process that you expect them to follow? Do you make it easy or hard for them to deal with you and your company?

How will you make a change today? I know what I will be doing.

5 Comments on "Ideas, Innovation and Change"

  1. steph says:

    anyone and everyone who knows me knows i resist routine at all costs… my biggest problem is that instead of little changes here and there, I often plunge into some very big (like quit jobs and move countries!). As time goes on I realise that little changes can have just as much of an impact as huge ones. Variety is the spice of life, but I can see the value in sticking to something for a while!

  2. Janet says:

    Very interesting, a agree wholeheartedly, without changes there can be no growth.

  3. Bibian A. says:

    Great blog, Robin! I really like the suggestions to implement positive change!
    Honest reflection and self-awareness are very important to assess the need for change, in my opinion change for the sake of change is not positive. Have a great week and looking forward to your next blog!

  4. nadia says:

    Great topic, Robin.

    Resisting change must be one of the most dominant things nourishing unhappiness in our lives. To let go, to surrender, to accept, to embrace, to have faith, to experience, to live. Releasing control seems to be one of the most frightening things, but in doing so we allow ourselves the freedom to grow and experience a life we may have never before imagined. We allow ourselves to live. Without life, what are we doing here? What are we trying to control? Why are we so afraid of the unknown? Change is the only constant in life, we can continue to fear it or we can choose to enjoy the journey. It is a choice.

    We do get caught up in our cycles though; knowing one’s self is essential in having the ability to make a shift. We need more curiosity, about ourselves. To know what we truly want. We need to ask ourselves more questions. The disbelief that we are worth more than what we exist with, has created a world of victims who don’t believe they have a choice in their outcome. That leads to a lot of complaining and unhappiness. For those that are aware and still allow themselves to perpetuate the same cycles must also have some form of self limiting belief or laziness that must be questioned and addressed to move forward. Change can require work that many are not prepared to put in; they are not seeing what they are saying NO to by remaining unchanged. The chaos theory states that our natural state is chaos… so we always revert back to it if we don’t put in the work to move away from it. With strong motivation, a clear understanding of WHY we want change, the cycle can be broken. I think in the end, it comes down to how badly we want it… “get disturbed” about the present truths of where your habits are leading you, it will inevitably drive successful change. Strive for consistency and see the results.

    Nadia El
    Physical Training Specialist

  5. Natasha says:

    Over the last couple weeks, as I was travelling with a friend, we were talking about the need to do things that feel ‘different’ or ‘new’ and how to bring the excitement and openness that comes with travel into our everyday lives. It is definitely possible, many times just taking the time to savour and celebrate small things can add variety to the day to day! (Step one: we’ll be signing up for rappelling and paddle boarding locally to keep the spirit of our last adventure alive!)

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