Last Friday I watched ABC’s “Shark’s Tank”. Every season I enjoy watching entrepreneurs pitch their products and services to a panel of five investors who made their millions as entrepreneurs themselves. This show inspires me to look at my daily life with fresh eyes for ways to innovate and improve my and my family’s lifestyle. Innovation, I believe, is not limited to the business world, and does have direct application and an immediate impact to personal life.
While some people say that being an innovator is innate, the author’s of The Innovator’s DNA:Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators suggest otherwise. Although this book was written about innovative companies, I am of the opinion that their message is applicable to personal lives. “In our research of the world’s most innovative companies,” they say,”we discovered five skills that leaders <wives/ husbands, mothers/ fathers> relied on to innovate their way out of problems and into opportunities–like discovering new businesses, products, and services.”
The five skills are:
- Question Ask challenging questions that take on common wisdom to create new directions. How can a closet be better organized? Is there a better way to decorate the front foyer? What is the best way remove that cranberry juice stain from the living room carpet?
- Observe Watch the behavior of the children, your spouse, extended family and guests in your home the way an anthropologist would identify new ways of doing things. How are spaces in the home and yard being used by all? Can the spaces function better for improved enjoyment? How can people be happier?
- Network Talk to people with different life experiences and perspectives to spark new ideas. Their are great places to meet other people who are either in your current life situation or who have “been there, done that”. Some such places are local church groups, neighborhood playgroups, web communities like Circle of Moms, etc.
- Experiment Construct interactive experiences and gain new insights. Family Home Evenings, Family Date Nights, Board Game Night/ Murder-Mystery Dinner Party… unplugged/ old school ideas, yes, but lots of cheesy fun that will ensure memories for years to come.
- Associate Draw unexpected connections between questions, problems or ideas from unrelated fields.
“Whether in our professional or personal life, spending the time to master these five skills of disruptive innovators will pay off when we’re tasked with creating a new solution, for ourselves or for others.”