Watch and listen.
Of the things you need to do in order to become an innovator, those are number one and two on the list.
Number three is to I think about how you can apply knowledge from one area of your life or ideas from a department or group to another department or group. If you are observant of the different situations in your life, then this will naturally occur.
Number four is to start making changes, start talking with people about them, and start seeing how well they will apply.
Congratulations, you have just become an innovator. You will now have the reputation end of “thinking outside the box” and “bringing something new to the table”.
Sociologist Ronald Burt, from the The University of Chicago Booth School of Business argues just this. Creative ideas are not usually new ideas, but ideas that are cross applied. He states that, “People who live in the intersection of social worlds are at higher risk of having good ideas.” This is true in my life. I have cross applied ideas from gardening to my work at a bank and from software development to customer service.
And one of the best things about this is that these ideas do not even have to be yours. The application of the idea will be yours, but the idea can come from someone else or somewhere else. And the great thing about that is that there are roughly seven billion other people out there to provide these ideas. And each and every single one of them thinks differently. Not just differently from you, but differently from each other.
When you combine that broad array of knowledge with all of the interactions that people have with each other, whether listening to them, watching them, reading an article, watching a video, or even reading a blog, you have the opportunity to take that idea, give it a twist and put it back out as something brand new. Because it really is. No one else in your group, or department came up with that idea and applied it in the way you doing at. So even though the germ of the idea what they have come from anywhere, you own it and you should be proud of it.
So, the next time you think, “Hey, that is a good idea”, write it down or have some other way to remember it because chances are you’ll be able to apply it somewhere else.
And always, always credit your source.