Create and Innovate

Create and Innovate

I’m very passionate about innovation and the innovation process. “It’s never been done before” is my favorite phrase.


I’ve been a part of formal innovation teams for many years. I’ve also worked at many startups, the crucibles of innovation, since I first started out. I’ve created things out of nothing or brought in current technology that was innovative to a particular company.


While researching this topic I found this useful definition of innovation:

“ Product innovation is the process of creating a new product or upgrading a product with additional features."

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What is Product Innovation?

Formal Innovation teams are a wonder. At SignantHealth a team of three, a manager, another team member and myself, was responsible for setting the team and its workings within the company. We tried to develop a structure where anyone with an idea in the company felt empowered and rewarded to feed ideas into our pipeline. We’d work at producing POCs of the idea for tech and business evaluation and when something was produced we just didn’t throw it over-the-wall, instead embedding ourselves into the dev teams. One button video was the result of this process


At other companies we would formally use ‘brainstorming’ tactics where we would bring individuals in and just let loose with ideas. It also involves finding people with the right mind-set to do it. If you’re interested in bringing innovation to your company I highly recommend “The 5 pillars of product innovation” 


The trick really is to be the perfect listener… Listening to business needs… listening to customers and co-workers for what they need and then coming up with ideas to solve them


I took a CTO course as part of the accelerator we went through as part of my startup, SimplyCalled. The instructor summed it it up “Your job is to mind meld with the CEO, completely understanding his or her vision, knowing how to realize it, and gently pushing back when it was unrealistic’. 


At Gilded, a startup, most of the finance industry veterans were pushing a staid, done 100 times gold buying experience. I on the other-hand, as a member of the R&D/Innovation team listened to stray comments from the CEO about his vision and created and built the ‘Digital Gold Vault‘, getting buy-in from everyone in the company.


And speaking of being creative, I had such a blast reviewing individual frames of the “Empire Strikes Back” to come up with I think 10 little fun things from the R2/D2 phone.


Ultimately I find being creative and innovative the most fulfilling part of my career


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