Change. Like many of our customers, you’re probably experiencing some degree of change. Whether it’s expected or unexpected, personal or business, change is uncomfortable. When we embrace it, change can force us to improvise and adapt, which for business can lead to innovation and new growth.  

innovation, creative, change, adapt, growth, process, business, customer-centricInnovation is a creative process.  In fact, creativity is the source of innovation. Rollo May, author of The Courage to Create, defines creativity as “the process of bringing something new into being.”  Innovation is the implementation of creating by transforming the “new” into an improved product, service, or process that creates value. There is no innovation without creativity. As a result, innovation and change are both vital to business growth.  

It’s human nature to react negatively to change. Hesitancy around change can disrupt the creative process. The key is to use change to drive creativity and thus innovation. 

Innovation covers a wide range of business efforts, including the:   

  • Products you create  
  • Services you provide  
  • Processes, such as those you use to make and deliver products or serve customers 

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The Four Key Steps You Need to Leverage Change

Use these four steps to achieve the end goal, growth. 

innovation, creative, change, adapt, growth, process, business, customer-centricStep One 

Embrace the change. This is the only way you and your organization can tap into creativity and enable you to move forward, if you are stalled or paralyzed by change.  

When you’re engaged in change and innovation, the first step is to be purposeful in how you accept and manage change, so that you and your team can tap into the creativity and innovation that will propel your organization forward.  

This step will require understanding what causes resistance to change, so these issues can be addressed and overcome. You can use the 3X5 Why process to help root out the causes. Once these obstacles are overcome, you and your team will be more predisposed to creative thinking and making innovation actionable. 

Step Two 

Make creativity safe and part of the regular routine.  For example, ask people to anonymously submit their ideas.  When I worked at Motorola, we had boxes throughout the facilities called Speak Out boxes where people could offer creative suggestions for how to improve a process, product, service, etc.  The form for these required both the idea and how to implement the idea, along with initial thoughts on the value it would create for customers and the company.  People whose ideas were selected and implemented were celebrated at public meetings and received a cash reward. The key idea behind this step is to make contributing comfortable and rewarding.  

Step Three 

Improve the connection and collaboration among people who don’t often work together. These are known as weak ties.  In 1973, Mark S. Granovetter published his work entitled “The Strength of Weak Ties.” Data has shown that organizations that are able to connect weak ties are more innovative. How can you leverage this idea? Make sure you have weak ties represented in your brainstorming meetings, problem solving teams (tiger teams), and innovation work groups.  

Step Four 

Use conflict to spark creative thinking.  Arguments and different perspectives provide an opportunity to come up with fresh solutions. In his 2001 book, From Conflict to Creativity: How Resolving Workplace Disagreements Can Inspire Innovation and Productivity,  Sy Landau found that conflict, when properly redirected and used to promote free discussion and debate of ideas, improves joint problem solving. The key is to focus on task rather than relational conflict. Task conflict challenges the status quo and can trigger creative solutions that result in innovation.   

Move from Creativity to Innovation Using These Two Pivotal Processes

innovation, creative, change, adapt, growth, process, business, customer-centric

Now that you have the creative juices flowing, how do you come to an innovation?  We recommend employing two common processes: divergence and convergence. When you cast the widest possible net to generate the greatest number of ideas, you are using the divergence process.  When you narrow down the ideas to a select few to pursue, you are employing the convergence process.

Here’s how they work together.  Let’s say you want to combine, adapt, or modify an existing solution to develop the next generation or iteration.  Coming up with lots of ideas/brainstorming, provides an ideal approach. Brainstorming is all about divergence.   

Now, you have lots of potential ideas.  The goal is to narrow these down until only a few ideal ideas remain. For this winnowing process to work you will need to define what matters most to the market, customers, and your company, and what is feasible. Once you have your short list you can begin the validation, development, testing, and production stages.  


Forward-looking, customer-centric organizations use change to innovate. To be bold and to invest. New capabilities, processes, and solutions are the only way to remain competitive, maintain relevance, and drive long-term sustainable growth. 

Learn how to bring your innovation to market with greater success and less risk. 

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