Building your personal innovation strategy

Isabelle Litzler, Founder of Pleiades HC shares her thoughts on how mindset training along with building a personal innovation strategy can positively impact your professional and personal life.

A talk with Isabelle Litzler

When I say innovation you probably think tech-ish, startup companies such as Apple or Facebook right ? You see innovation as a separate function in a company where a bunch of very smart people think about how to create the next revolutionary product or service that will change the world. I used to be like you. I used to see innovation as something outside of my own world in the hands of an elite. Today I look at things differently. I see innovation with three layers. The first layer would be you as an individual, then your daily environment (say, your workplace) and finally the worldwide sphere having an impact on all of the above.

If we look at the worldwide events « layer », these tend to happen outside of our control. If there is a global breakdown happening tomorrow, very little can be done at your level. For the daily environment « layer », such as company events, if there is a change in the management team or a merger, chances are you can’t really do much either. However, there is one thing where you can have an impact : yourself as an individual, the final « layer ». It is all about your anticipation, management and decisions around your environments that will make the difference. I want to put the focus on how you can become your own innovator.

1 Mindset training

You are welcome to read Louise Hay on the topic of mindset and how to build it. Her entire work is about re-wiring your brain to encourage positive thoughts and discourage negative ones. It sounds easy in theory, but we are usually most critical towards our potential, day in and day out. You are what you think. One way to develop your confidence is to achieve small tasks first and move slowly towards bigger ventures. One step after the other.

2 Do your current job well

Can you say without a doubt that you do everything perfectly in your current job ? Are you improving the tasks by creating an easier method? Are you thinking of ways to help the team find materials ? I have never seen any tasks as « too small » for my brain. I took each job as a way to learn and deliver what the company needed from me. Innovation in a snapshot is : How can I make this process, tool, method easier and faster for the end user.

3 Curiosity

If you want to grow your career, you need to be curious and beat the day to day routine. Ask your manager to go to a meeting or even take charge of a project. Wanting to do more and volunteering is one way to get career acceleration.

4 Do regular career check-ups

As expressed in the article Innovate your career, the notion of job titles will be irrelevant in the near future. Think about doing regular skills assessment – alone or with a professional – to see where you stand in terms of skills and especially in connection with the market. The biggest pitfall I see with clients is that they are focused on their resume, while in complete disconnection with the marketplace.

5 Build up your personal innovation strategy

Having a good personal innovation strategy is almost the same as a business plan for a company. Identify your SWOT : Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. In my coaching practice at Pleiades HC, I advise individuals to start thinking about their job search before they officially lose their job. If you know layoffs are coming at some point, anticipate the change and start preparing yourself. It is always better to have a plan than to be stuck in forced unemployment.

6 Get credentials to build up credibility

The strong belief that you can impact your own job and your organization takes action not just talk.   It is the doing not the thinking that will create innovation. Having ideas is the first step, but you need to put them into motion to see a result.

However, sometimes this is hard to do, especially alone. In Lausanne, the EMBA at the EPFL built an entire programme for ambitious professionals in Switzerland who want to invest in developing their skills and bring innovation to new heights in their environment.

7 Help the company place you in the right role

Following the 3 steps of innovation : Discovery, incubation and acceleration, helps talent managers in companies place you within the right role so that you can be of service at the right place. Where do you fit the best? Are you an analyst, a sales person, a communicator ? Understanding your strengths and the being open to feedback is a big part of the journey.

As a last tip, the first step to becoming your own innovator is to start your project right now. Apply for the job you want, do your skills assessment, register for a programme or start your own business. Success is in the art of implementation not ideation.

Isabelle Litzler | www.pleiades.com  | www.linkedin.com/in/isabellelitzler

References:

Fraser, Rebecca. “Why now is the time to innovate your career”. https://theundercoverrecruiter.com/innovate-your-career

Tucker, Robert. “How to build your personal innovation strategy”. Forbes, 7 July 2018, www.forbes.com/sites/robertbtucker/2017/05/12/how-to-build-your-personal-innovation-strategy/#4f8657df746a

Colarelli O’Connor, Gina. Corbett, Andrew. Pierantozzi, Ron. “Create three distinct career paths for innovators”. HBR, December 2009, https://hbr.org/2009/12/create-three-distinct-career-paths-for-innovators

Hay, Louise. « You can heal your life ». 2017, Hayhouse Inc