There has been quite a good bit of banter the past few weeks around innovation in America. Perhaps because it was one of the major themes of the State of the Union address by the President or perhaps because he was merely stating what many CEOs and leaders of US companies have known for a while – the heart of the American Economy relies on innovation.
It might be argued that as a result, a major competency of the American working professional should be innovation. There are several models out there that provide a framework (a set of processes) that enable innovation. It ultimately always starts with identifying a “need” in the world. And this is almost always followed by a process of brainstorming. Without these two initial steps, there can’t be true innovation.
So let’s look at them from an EQ persepctive. How does one idenitfy a need? The “Eureka” moment is often a circumstantial unorchestrated event, not a proactive one. In order to identify needs, one must have a very degree of “Self-Awareness” and “Empathy” – two key compoments of EQ. With self-awareness, one is acutely aware of what is happening “out there” that is impacting them on the inside. One is using a great deal of what is troubling oneself. What do we do all day long that could be better? Concurrently paying attention to what other people do, what frustrates them, what cause them discomfort, requires a high degree of empathy as well.
This week, I ask you to make a list of five items that could make your life easier – be it at home or at work. Throughout the week, pay attention to things you do that raise your emotional temperature… and at that moment, ask yourself what caused it. In addition, do the same with those you come in most contact with this week. So, by Friday, you should be able to identify ten ideas! Next week, I’ll discuss brainstorming and the inherent self-imposed barriers that prevent us from taking ideas and actually doing something with them.