Unless you are a genius bursting at the seams with dumb luck, you probably aren’t any more innovative than the person standing next to you in the elevator. But that doesn’t mean that you need to be overly concerned. In spite of the fact that the trend in business right now is to be super innovative, you as an individual need not worry about coming up with new ideas all the time. Here’s why:
Innovative products and services have a significant prerequisite to be labeled as such. They need people to recognize them as something new, ground breaking, or profoundly different in comparison to what already exists on the market. In order for something to be innovative, people need to say so; that’s where you come in. If you are frustrated by the fact that you don’t have any “good ideas,” steal this one: Be a thought-leader.
Being a thought leader requires you to become the type of person whom people turn to for information and insight. This takes a lot of time and work, but the end result is simple: when you speak, people listen. There are plenty of ways to do this, but I think there are three things you can do now to send you in the right direction.
1) Be helpful and empathetic. Try to understand other peoples’ problems and suggest calculated solutions in a tactful way.
2) Go to your audience. You can’t be a thought leader just by retweeting Mashable, Dan Schawbel, or Tech Crunch (please never do that actually. It gets old fast). You need to physically present yourself to other people; communicating your intellect and willingness to help in person.
3) Stay on top of things. Seek out new things that are interesting to you and share them. Once someone recognizes you as a source of fresh and relevant information, you take one step closer to being trusted and well-regarded in your community.
So what’s the point in me saying all this? Quite frankly, it’s that you needn’t worry about being a pioneer. There can only be so many Thomas Edisons in the world at a time. Instead just focus on how you can help people and gain their respect.
This post is inspired by “What to do when your customer doesn’t want your product.” by Bobby Brannigan of FastCompany.