People are looking for new ideas. Metropolitan areas want to create jobs and stimulate growth; companies are looking for new sources of profit and value; and individuals are taking matters into their own hands by starting their own businesses.
Quickly scanning the search results on Google for innovation, I found numerous examples of people that have figured out how to start multiple businesses that make them money while they sleep or while they hold down day jobs. Organizations are hosting innovation festivals, and businesses of various scales are hosting internal and external competitions to develop new concepts.
Innovation is a business. And that's not a bad thing. I previously associated innovation with original thought and the development of a new product or service that could benefit people. It still seems to be that to an extent, but it has also become a culture. People are moving themselves to participate in innovation activities and also simply using it in everyday conversation.
If you aren't innovating, then what are you doing? That's a good question because if you aren't evolving, then you aren't necessarily growing. I think that the word innovation is overused. However, the impact that it has created can't be denied--and it if gets people to rethink their reality and help drive change, then that can't be such a bad thing. Especially not when innovation is driving various sectors of the economy.
Where is innovation going? It's hard to say and it really depends on where people want to take it. Right now, it is serving as a motivating force for people to take action. But, if that fails, or perhaps doesn't create the value that people expect, or even if people discover that innovation is hard work, then their attitudes will change. People will move on to something new when the conversation on innovation becomes tired and worn out.
I'm hopeful, though, that it will continue to drive people to create change that works for them and simultaneously improve the lives of people around them.
The thing about innovation is that it is not something that happens externally. Although it can appear as a movement or an outside force, lasting innovation starts from within. Individuals, companies, and governments have to want to change in order for new ideas, and the process of creating them, to take hold. This will be the breaking point for innovation. When people tire of putting in the work for what seems like little or no returns then they will move on to something else. Why? Because it is human nature to serve yourself first and then maybe the organization.
Where do I look for innovation? Art, music, architecture, fiction, and film. I look to see not only what these artists, authors, architects, and directors are creating, but I'm looking more closely at how they do it. Are they developing new ways of collaborating or partnering with others that can inform how I should be doing business. Have they developed new forms or structures of thinking that can be applied in my work?
Incidentally, I'm also keeping a close eye on China and other emerging markets. With China, I'm watching to see how their growing mobile technology sector continues to expand and grow. In the U.S. and other parts of the world, we do mobile well, but not like the Chinese--who have essentially been working off of this platform since it's inception. In the West, we have been gradually shifting to it. There's a difference.
Still interested in innovation and not sure where to start? Take a close look at the choices you make moment to moment and start there. Creating innovation through action is more powerful than words alone.