Becoming an innovative company is all about a state of mind

How can you ensure multiple innovations in products and services, become a reference for the future while significantly increase the company’s results to achieve exceptional and sustainable performance?
Nathalie Delmas is President of Connexion TIP in Montreal and TIP Consulting in Paris, international firms for Breakthrough Performance for companies.

And what if it was all just a question of state of mind? Beyond strategies and processes,
innovation must be everyone’s business (and not limit itself to those who are said to be creative
or innovative or who work in R & D). Much like installing new software in your business, it is possible to make sure that all of your staff members adopt an innovative state of mind (MindNovaction®), and integrate this into their hearts and minds. Your competitive advantage, very hard to duplicate, and your greatest innovation will probably remain creating and establishing an innovative state of mind to all strata of your company.

The stake in the heart and in the mind
We hear a lot these days about the importance of placing the customer at the heart of our concerns. I think it’s a mistake. Your stake must be at the heart of your business and in the minds of all your key partners (collaborators, colleagues, bosses, suppliers, customers, consumers). What is your stake? The bigger the stake, the more it integrates within people’s heart and mind; so, the more you can mobilize them, the more you’ll innovate and the more you’ll perform. Take the example of a casino. If you bet $ 10,000, you will not play the same way then if you would have bet $ 10. Your way of being will not be the same. It’s the same thing for your business. You will mobilize everyone and have the opportunity to create a world of innovations if the stakes are high enough.

Your stake is your reason for being. As Simon Sinek, a British lecturer and author of management and motivation books, likes to ask: why are you in business? In the case of Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, Tesla Motors and PayPal, his purpose is to change the world and humanity. As for Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, considered as the inventor of microcredit and laureate of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, his raison d’être is to eradicate world poverty.

Your “mission for being” must arise from your reason for being
Even if your reason for being touches the heart and the mind of everyone, that won’t be enough. You must create and engage yourself in a real “mission for being”. How will you know whether your work truly corresponds to your reason for being? For Elon Musk, it’s about contributing to the colonization of Mars. For Muhammad Yunus, it’s zero poverty by 2030.

Here, your formal commitment to achieve your “mission for being” is crucial. For example, you chose, as a stake and as a reason for being, to change things. For you, that means changing the lives of your partners as an issue for sustainable development and life in society. But how will we know whether you will have changed life? This is where the problem lies. Everyone agrees that changing life is a very noble issue. But things get complicated when you say that achieving this goal means that you will have to invent disruptive technologies (which will change the game for your customers and for your entire business) by the end of 2017. Your mission for being expresses itself through avant-garde objectives. Your objectives are avant-garde because right now, you do not know how to reach them. Despite everything you know about the market, your employees and your skills, you do not know how to fulfill these commitments.

You commit yourself based on what you know how to produce and carry out, which you refer to as forecasting processes (as opposed to what I call pastcasting). These commitments are based on the past. When it comes to most things we do in life, that’s plenty enough and it allows us to survive. When considering the context of a company committed to avant-garde and innovative performance, however, we must progress in accordance with its reason and mission for being on completely unknown territory. Based on the future, and not on the past, these commitments allow us to create the future, create life and live instead of survive. This is the sine qua non for truly transforming your business and starting to establish a truly innovative state of mind. This genuine commitment is not just a simple but yet ambitious goal that we might try to reach. This type of commitment concerns your most inner integrity. And only with such stakes or commitments will you make sure that your comfort zone doesn’t catch up with you.

A transforming connection between all partners
If you want to establish a constructive relationship with your consumers and really surprise them with nice innovations, you will have to master the art of the transforming connection. It all starts with your very own connection with yourself, that is with your heart and your mind. Who do you dare to declare to be? Your statement must be able to orient your mind, your heart and your body towards the same goal. It’s the best antidote for the ego, which can trick you into staying in your comfort zone when embarking on such an adventure. This connection must then be done with the heart and mind of all your collaborators, so it can then spread to all your partners.

Why? Since you dare to commit to doing something that has never been done, the probabilities for failure are considerable. If you manage to connect to the heart and mind of your employees beyond their skills, in a context where you love – yes – everyone of them for who they are (and not necessarily for what they do), and if you succeed in making sure that every employee is connected with all his colleagues and with yourself, that each of them feels responsible for his success and that of all his colleagues (and not feel in competition), then you will have an immeasurable force, because they will themselves know how to connect with all the key partners of your business. Innovation will come from where you will not expect it. Innovation will become everyone’s business.

Resilience: honor your word
Finally, to keep going in the long term and be able to deal with difficult situations, you will have to master the “honor of being”, that is, honoring your word whatever happens. In adversity and when facing new issues, who are you going to be? Will you stay engaged or give up? When faced with difficulties, any reason becomes a good one to give up. We heard them all: “It was really too ambitious. We should reevaluate our ambitions. We made it here, that’s already good …” Honoring who you are and what your word is truly worth will make all the difference between failure and success. As Thomas Edison said: “Many of those who failed did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. ”

It starts with a leader that changes the game
It all starts with a leader who is ready to dare the impossible. Whether your organization is in an ascending or descending approach, you will need a leader who carries the reason and mission for being, and guarantees its integrity. This kind of leader is a game changer. A new reality – or a new deal – always begins by daring to declare it. So, what are you going to declare?