Innovation is thought inspired by creativity, movement, belief and action. It is about opening your mind to new possibilities by moving past fixed and rigid thinking into more nontraditional and risk-taking thought processes. To remain competitive in business, innovation is everything.

There are seven keys to developing and following through on innovation.

1. See the need for change.

Laziness and comfort are innovation killers. To be innovative you have to see there is always a need for change. An acceptance of status quo doesn’t provoke the necessary passion for new thought. When you see the need for change in the world you will feel a sense of urgency to make those changes happen. Every idea or product already in existence has room for expansion. Even more exciting is the need for products that do not yet exist in the consumer market.

As you recognize the need for change, you will be inspired by new ideas.

2. Gather a powerful team.

As new thoughts and ideas take flight, you begin to foresee what types of people you will need to help you bring your vision to life. You must have a team that shares your passion, vision and direction.

As you collaborate with others be clear that you are not looking for loners. You are looking for team members who are open, flexible, work well in a creative group environment and who can build upon other people’s ideas to bring original thoughts to ever higher standards of excellence and efficiency.

Be bold in reaching out to pull together this multidimensional group of people. This group must have enough power to take your idea, make it real and sell the consumer on the need for your product.

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3. Create a timetable for completion.

Knowing how and where your idea will be developed is the first to getting your vision out into the competitive market. Once the necessary players are on board and the proper venues have been lined up, you must develop timelines for the start and close of product development and launching.

With a clearly stated vision guiding you through the developmental process, the strategies and procedures necessary to achieve your scheduled goals and outcomes will materialize. A schedule helps direct and manage the creative and engineering efforts leading your effort.

There is nothing more exciting than the beginning of a new journey. When you start any innovative process hold a clear picture of the end result in mind. To get to where you want to go you must be clear on what are you trying to achieve.

4. Lead the vision.

Emotions are contagious. Your passion for the concept and bigger picture will inspire the creativity and motivation of your team and collaborators.

Make sure your team is completely on board and excited about the strategies developed to get your idea out there. Allow your team to be instrumental in the implementation and creative processes that define the strategies. The more personal your vision becomes to them, the harder they will work to get your idea moving.

You must involve your team in all levels of communication. Copious communication inspires increased brainstorming and idea development that leads to greater and wider strategies.

5. Keep it simple so others can share your vision.

The more complicated the process around your vision, the less others will want to be involved. Part of innovation is examining and removing obstacles that undermine progress. You must present as clear a vision as possible to interest others in what your mission offers.

Every innovator has to risk pursuing non-traditional ideas. You must be willing to hear both positive and negative feedback. Be open to changing systems, procedures, structures and technological processes that undermine what you are trying to achieve.

Holding tightly to what isn’t working makes it harder to lead your team and persuade others to buy into your idea as investors or partners.

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6. Early gains attract supporters.

To get people to commit to your plan, strategize for short-term wins. When you make goals visible and easy to follow through on, your team succeeds. These smaller achievements are recognized by the team as major successes. Feeling successful deepens group excitement and increases motivation to continue forward.

Innovating isn’t limited to the idea or invention itself. Small successes encourage innovation in product development and execution strategies.

7. Identify improvements and create increased change.

As your idea gains momentum you will see where the holes are in your product and business plan. When you make these necessary improvements and analyze your results, you become unafraid of more change. More change is always necessary to take any journey to its completion.

Any successful venture is about traveling over the peaks and through the valleys. Learn from your mistakes which elements of your business plan need modification. Learn to view the peaks and valleys as informational stops along your journey. The peaks and valleys will lead you into the next change you need to make to be more successful.

Innovation is a day-to-day, success-by-success process saturated with new ideas, answers and directions. To innovate you have to be directed, flexible and open. Innovation requires you to be ready for change at all times. You must stand firm in your belief in your product to take it all the way to completion. To be innovative you must be willing to dare greatly. Your deep belief in what you have developed will give you the patience and persistence to endure mockery and rejection until you achieve your goal and surpass your competitors.

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