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It's true – innovation is a huge buzzword and we are all aware. Craig Lambert describes it as being "...bandied around a bit like a Miss Universe contestant talking about world peace." While the idea of innovation is tossed around and misused, it doesn't mean businesses can't or shouldn't be innovative, but rather the opposite: businesses need to embrace creativity and exciting new ways to connect with customers.
It is important to know the two relevant types of innovation in order to start thinking outside of the box and reaching your business potential.
The two main types of innovation are:
1. Sustained: Innovation that maintains and evolves established markets.
2. Disruptive: Innovation that creates new markets and fresh values.
How Can Your Business Succeed With Innovation?
In order to be successful as a business, your business must have a clear and focused 'Power House.' Think of your business's house as having four rooms that are the key foundations of a successful business. These four rooms include:
1. Vision – a clear strategy.
2. IQ – a smart intellectual focus.
3. Body – a physical energy and presence.
4. EQ - its interpersonal connections.
These four rooms are critical to building a sustainable, commercially viable company – when they are all working together they provide a strong profit power loop. For example:
• If you have a clear vision and stick to it you should eventually reach your goals. Without clarity of vision of a phone that also played music and allowed you to surf the web, Apple would never have created the iPhone.
• Intellectual focus involve taking small but crucial improvements to your products or services that can win over customers and keep your company fresh. Dyson failed over 5,000 times before he and his vacuum cleaners reached huge success.
• The physical energy that your business creates in visual forms such as branding and marketing is essential to make a positive first impression. If you can win over eyes, you can win over customers.
• Finally without emotional intelligence and having the ability to connected with staff, customers and stakeholders on a personal level you will not enjoy repeat business and good will. You should want to connect to your customers and this is the biggest reason you are being innovative. Serve your customers and find success.
Innovation is About the Big Picture
Once you've got your house in order you can start building upon your solid foundation you can begin to focus on raising your roof to become more and more successful. Your focus is to find ways to improve your product or business practices in such a way that serves your customers and keeps them connected with you as a brand. Innovation isn’t about innovating for the sake of innovation, nor is it about throwing money at the latest trend, gadget or radio advertisement, rather innovating should always be focused on helping your end-customer and servicing their needs and wants. With the foundations in place you then have the clear air space to create some really unique and memorable experiences that will ensure your business is remembered, respected and referred.
Want to know more about how you can create a culture of innovation in your team or business? Contact us to ask about our affordable, fun workshops firstname.lastname@example.org
The difference between a failed entrepreneur and a successful one is creativity and discipline. Business owners who struggle usually have one without the other.
Without discipline, Thomas Edison’s creative vision for a light-bulb would not have come to life. He created about 3000 prototypes before he had a working globe. If he had seen his first attempt as a “failure”, he would never had continued and pushed on to succeed.
Similarly, it took James Dyson 5,127 prototypes and 14 years of debt to create a revolutionary vacuum that’s now a billion-dollar business. After years of rejection and ridicule, he persisted with his creation of a bagless vacuum.
Unfortunately, we see too many small to mid-sized businesses have laser-focus discipline, but lack creativity. They persist and persist to keep their head above water. They work harder in order to “succeed”. But most often, working harder isn’t what’s needed.
We’ve also seen budding entrepreneurs with the foundations of an amazing idea, but lack discipline. They weren’t able to take consistent, persistent action, and re-adjust to make it work.
The Four Keys To Success
No matter what success looks like to you, a number of things need to be in balance. We call this the UQ Power House. It’s made up of four rooms: Your Body, IQ (intelligence quotient), EQ (emotional intelligence), and Vision. (Watch this video to find out more about the keys to the four rooms!)
Thomas Edison and James Dyson show strength in the IQ room. They have a balance of creativity and discipline. If their idea didn’t work, they would try again using their ingenuity and creativity to solve their “problem”.
What Happens When You Don’t Have All Four Keys?
Firstly, we’ll start with what happens when you do have all the keys. When all four rooms are unlocked, what you have is a mighty strong foundation for building a more resilient business that is sustainable.
When you or your business is out of whack, you’re likely to hit a plateau – or worse – slip along a downward trend. Here’s an idea of what happens when you lack in one of the areas:
Vision: Without crystal clear vision, you more likely to work day by day, hit a plateau and be too busy to work on your business to grow your market and income.
EQ: If you have trouble connecting with people and building solid relationships, how you will you ever gain trust, buy-in, and employee and staff loyalty?
IQ: Without creativity and discipline, you’ll lack the drive and innovation to get over the bumps. You may not be able to deliver on your promises either.
Body: On a personal level, your ability to show up to work each day and perform at your peak will also affect the potential of your business. If you’re feeling sluggish, your business will too. If the body of your business isn’t in shape, like your website, marketing materials, equipment, vehicles, packaging, etc, you’ll struggle to communicate the value you truly offer.
If you need help unlocking your UQ Powerhouse and you want to build a profitable, sustainable business, get in touch with us today.
Have you ever felt immediately compelled to buy something after seeing a powerful marketing message? There is a science behind creating marketing campaigns that cause people to pull out their credit cards and throw money at you.
First Impressions Count
Humans are hardwired to make immediate judgements about others, without even having to speak to the person. Whether we’re aware of it or not, we process visual cues such as body language and appearance to determine if the person is “friend or foe”.
Rhondalynn Korolak, explains in her blog post how our brains process information.
“The human brain makes quick decisions and takes action based on its ability to assess and interpret images, not data. About 80–90% of activity in the decision making centre of your brain is based on visual stimuli. This is because your optic nerves prioritize the path of visual stimuli to your reptilian brain — that part of your mind that runs on pure instinct and makes decisions in 1-2 milliseconds to keep you safe.”
Use Powerful Imagery
Research has revealed that using imagery makes messages more believable. When a written message is coupled with imagery, we are more likely to believe in what is being said. Most people must “see it to believe it”.
What makes an image powerful? The answer to that depends on what your customer believes and values. Your imagery should reflect the benefits people will get from using your brand or it should focus on the solution that your product or service solves. Images that connect with your audience on an emotional level will have them knocking at your door.
What story does your marketing imagery tell?
Paint Pictures with Words
Never underestimate the power of words. When you read, your brain interprets the words and turns them into visual images to help you understand the information. (Some brains are better at this than others). When your marketing messages contain words and sentences that describe sensory information such as what things look and feel like, you’ve got better chances of creating greater clarity, desire, and impact within the minds of your customers.
Your action for today
Do a quick audit of your marketing materials. Just spend a minute or two scanning a range of your materials (just like how a customer would “skim” over your marketing) to SEE if they are powerful and visual.
Need help getting your house in order? If you’re really serious about leaping your business growth faster, then our VIP Brand Velocity Program is for you. An intense VIP half day, we will consult with you on your business and share with you all our secrets on how to increase your income, impact and influence. Those million-dollar ideas don’t happen by themselves. Not only do we get clear on the best ideas and strategies for your business but we'll work with you to design an implementation plan so you can get into action right away. Find out more here http://www.uqpower.com.au/vip-brand-power-program
As a fun activity at our live UQ Power workshops, we ask people to change three things about their appearance. Every time we do this 100% of participants take away parts of what they’re wearing or simply re-arrange their accessories. Isn’t this interesting?
We behave the same way when it comes to innovating and creating within business. Think back to a time when you were on a mission to improve your operations or create a new service or product. Did you look within areas of your own business – how you operate, what you do, where you can improve? These are all great things to do, but you may be limiting your creative thought processes by “looking within”.
Get Inspired By Fields Outside Of Your Business
At our workshops, once we highlight the fact that everyone “looked within”, we ask them again to change their appearance. This time around, we see people picking up things from around the room (even a chair!) and wearing them Lady GaGa style.
How can you do the same within your business?
Do some online research, take note of what other industries are doing, talk to a colleague in another field. What are they doing successfully? How can you tailor that suit your business?
Innovation Means Creation
Another activity we get participants to do at our workshops (if the group consists of a bunch of people from a range of industries), is to chat to the person sitting next to them about how they could “partner”. No matter how polar opposite some of the pairs may seem, there are always amazing new business ideas that come to light.
The best thing about innovating this way is that the ideas are often completely – unique.
Inspiration Can Come From Anywhere
Watch a movie, take your morning walk via a different route, view some random Youtube videos – you never know where your next big idea will come from. Our Founder and CEO, Heidi Alexandra Pollard loves to watch this unique video when she wants to get her creative juices flowing.
Trip hazards, dust, and cosy spots for spiders are not the only things that clutter creates in the workplace. Clutter at work, and at home, has a huge impact on your psyche.
Cluttered workspace = cluttered mind
The chaotic assortment of waste, unused items, and important workplace tools of trade can make you feel overwhelmed, unable to cope, and resentful. More than just a mess, a cluttered workspace negatively affects worker productivity and creativity and it has been known to increase stress levels.
When the chaos reaches a certain level it’s not the mess that’s the problem, but the impact of the mess on the people living with it. Dr Olivia Wynne B Psych, PhD Psych (Science and Psychoneuroimmunology) explains research has revealed that clutter can adversely affect your mindset.“Our senses once stimulated with something familiar can trigger memories of past experiences. This includes feeling all the emotions attached to that memory,” Dr Wynne said. “If you’re office was once a neat and tidy haven, but is now a chaotic mess because your workload has increased, it’s likely you’ll always feel ‘busy’, behind and overwhelmed.”
On the flipside, a well organised workspace shows signs of pride and professionalism. It improves productivity and can even enhance creativity and communication.
Not all clutter is bad however. Boost your mood by decorating your space with items you cherish such as a family photo or a trinket you bought while on holidays. Their presence, and your attachment to them, will help you to feel at home, relaxed, and inspired.
Feeling drained and uninspired? Is it time to declutter your workspace?
What does your desk say about you?
Here at UQ Power, we visit a lot of organisations and we see a lot of desks. We can usually tell straight away what the appearance of a desk says about the desk owner and the company culture of the organisation.
In our Desk a Day Challenge we analyse the desks of our readers. We’ve seen some wide-ranging examples of office spaces – from the minimalistic look with barely a pen out of place, to the disorganised and cluttered.
We know everyone prefers to work in different ways, and that ‘having a tidy desk’ can be interpreted differently depending on your propensity for clutter. However the environment of an office is a critical factor to successfully building trust, collaboration and communication in a workplace. What does your desk say about how you and your business operates?
Send in a photo to us at UQ Power and we will analyse what is says about your company culture.
By Christina Gerakiteys, Chief Innovation Officer
If the benefits of teamwork, collaboration, empowerment (expander leadership) and workplace satisfaction are well documented and well measured, why do we find ourselves in times of stress and difficulty reverting back to micromanagement?
Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, authors of All In: How the Best Managers Create a Culture of Beliefs and Drive Big Results, talk about the three E’s in relation to an organisation’s workforce – Engaged, Enabled and Energised; or Effort, Empowered and Effective; or Enthralled, Entrusted and Elated.
In a world that requires scientific proof (my grandmother used to ply us with chamomile tea for a stomach ache and scientists now assure us it has the carminative properties she described) these claims are based on empirical evidence gathered by researchers at Towers Watson. Towers Watson studied 25 companies and a total of 303,000 employees who showed “high-performance results”. The findings weren’t surprising. Where soft skills were encouraged, morale boosted, recognition given, loyalty acknowledged, where employees were engaged in activities just for fun, where they felt they had a voice and a place within the organisation and felt they were valued, the employees were happy, productive and retention rates were higher.
This research is validated by Dr Suzy Green, co-founder of the Positive Psychology Institute. Dr Green says research continues to show that a positive workplace has an impact on a company’s bottom line. “When you experience more positive emotions you do feel vital and alive - you're more engaged, more interactive with people.”
Why is it then, that happy workplaces are not the norm? Depression and sick leave are on the rise. Collaboration and teamwork are on a decline. Fear for poll positioning is infiltrating many organisations.
Ubuntu is co-authored by Stephen Lundin (think Fish – Seattle) and Bob Nelson (Bestselling author). It’s a story about an old African tradition that focuses on teamwork and collaboration. What does Ubuntu look like in the workplace? Each member of the organisation is respected because each member contributes to the success of that organisation. Each member realises that their adverse actions have an adverse effect on the whole workplace community and they take responsibility for those actions. All members of the organisation contribute to solving problems because failure to do so will see the whole workplace community suffer. When Ubuntu is part of an organisation’s workplace culture, productivity increases because individual strengths are valued and weaknesses are not punished.
It’s not a new concept. Imagine how your home life would be if it replicated a poorly motivated, unenthused and debilitated workplace. Imagine the relationship with a partner if it was container managed. Imagine how you would feel going home knowing you would be criticised for all your weaknesses and your strengths and contributions were never acknowledged, let alone rewarded. The pub would be looking good!
UQ Power has developed a series of short Bite Sized Learnings™ workshops that explore and offer improvements to existing workplace culture. At one to three hours in duration, they also fit seamlessly (well almost) into your workday with minimal disruption to your workflow.
We presently experience change at a faster rate than ever before in history. Let’s face that change with a valued and respected workforce.
Give a child a seemingly mundane object, like a cardboard box, and they’ll create a magical environment for herself. It will turn into an elaborate castle, a cave deep in the jungle, a ship set sail on the ocean or a steam train ready for work.
As children, we feel free to create as far-fetched as our mind can take us. Once we’ve grownup, unfortunately most of us never tap into the fullness of our creativity as we did as youngsters.
Our creativity is something that makes each and every one of us unique. It’s something that’s inside all of us, but something that most of us don’t express fully.
Creativity cannot be taught, but there is still a lesson to be learnt…
Push boundaries by letting your creative, inner child out
The boundless creativity we experience as children gets suppressed as we age, by our need to do things the “right” way. Sometimes, we’re plagued with grownup symptoms of self-doubt and embarrassment, which can stop us from fully embracing and expressing our creativity. Unlike children, we work within the boundaries of procedures and how things “ought to be done”.
“Give a small child a bunch of puzzle pieces, or any random set of items and the young child will go to work with them. The one thing the child won't do is look for the instruction manual. It's more fun to play around and create something crazy original!” Wes Hopper
At UQ Power when we conduct workshops with groups of suited corporates, we avoid offering pen and paper as the tool to solve a problem or create an idea. Instead, we’ll take all sorts of uncommon items. They form part of the problem-solving process; participants have to really think creatively how they can express their idea or solution using the items. Every time we’ve used this method – it works, it makes them think laterally.
"UQ Power offered a new and alternative experience compared to your typical leadership training session. It was very tactile. We had to paint our own story and vision for the organisation, but without any brushes! We really had to think differently not only abut how to share our thoughts with the team without any words, but also how we could execute the work," said Leah Flint, Executive Manager, Corporate Planning and Engagement, Maitland City Council.
"Their methods made us all think differently. It made it memorable - importantly - it made the key messages and learning points stick."
Read more about our work with Maitland City Council's Leadership Team here.
It’s time to let your inner child out! The next time you have to solve a problem, develop a strategy, or innovate within your business, shut down the computer, and pick up whatever else comes to mind… A paint brush, a collection of random office objects, pasta noodles, plasticine, or timber, nails and a hammer!
Depriving yourself of your typical tools and opening up your mind to using unconventional aids will retrain your brain and reconnect you with your inner child.
Begin to think more like the child you used to be. It's not about learning how to be creative, but more about remembering how creative you used to be. Look at problems or issues through the eyes of a child, and you may find surprisingly simple solutions that you never would've considered. Simplicity, creativity, and innovation are not just part of a child's environment, but belong in the adult world and workplace as well.
The poet tells us that “the child is father of the man.” And so it is.