September 28, 2022


Recently, a friend of mine shared a newsletter from a very large strategy firm.

As I scrolled down, I was surprised when I read their response to the question "does everyone need to be an innovator?". They wrote "the answer to this question is NO! Not everyone in your company has to be an innovator. Remember there is still the core business to run."

I believe everyone needs to be an innovator. I believe everyone should be an innovator.When this happens, you'll see transformation in your employees and your organizations that you never thought possible.

Think about this - what would you rather have?

A pocket of innovation? Where a small group of people innovate in the company? 
Or a culture of innovation? Where everyone in your organization innovates? Where innovation permeates all aspects of your business and touches everything, from small to large?

If only a few people are innovators, you'll get a pocket of innovation. If everybody is an innovator, you will innovation permeate your entire organization. What would you rather have?

Perhaps the problem lies in the traditional definition of innovation. 

I think most people think of innovation as capital I innovation - doing big, disruptive things. Flying people to Mars. Disrupting entire industries. What about little i innovation? Innovation in the everyday. Thinking differently in processes, procedures? It all matters. There's room for both capital I and little i innovation. 

The newsletter I referenced above links to a video on YouTube where one gentlemen talks more about this idea. In the video, he says he's often asked by CEO's who the innovators are in my company. His reply, you don't. He continues to say, you have to remove blockers and over time, they will start to prove that they are innovators and the real innovators will emerge.

I believe you can tell who the innovators are in your company. 

I can see innovative potential in people. I see their passion and drive. I can see their sparks of creativity, their ability to think differently. Just by interacting with people, I'll know. I tell people I can smell the innovator within.

One of things that made me happiest at Chick-fil-A Corporate, was leading the Innovation Coach Program. I had the privilege of teaching, training and mentoring innovator-to-bes. These innovator-to-bes were people interested in innovation and it was my job to turn them into confident innovators. One of my favourite things to do was recruiting people into the program. When I could sense the innovator within and their desire to grow, it was my delight to extend an opportunity for them to join.

I've always been surprised by their responses. One young lady told me "this was the best birthday gift she had ever received" (it so happened to be her birthday that day we talked).

Another young lady, Sidney, told me she no longer felt like a unicorn. That she finally felt seen and heard. That she finally was with her people.

Nothing makes me happier - seeing people with innovative potential and helping them unleash it.

When people have innovative potential and it's fully unleashed in them, you'll be amazed at what they do. 

I had a chance to chat with Sidney yesterday and she told me about all the innovation work she was doing. Leading teams, teaching innovation, facilitating innovation workshops... I was literally blown away. Sidney was someone I met during an innovation workshop I was leading. I could tell she was very sharp and had high innovative potential. I invited her into the Innovation Coach program. That was over a year ago.

When you empower people with innovation, stand back and be ready to be amazed. You'll see transformation in them and in your organization and everyone will be better for it. 

This is why Abound Innovation exists.

We teach people how to become innovators - by teaching them innovation thinking (mindsets) and innovation doing (skillsets) through innovation training workshops. 

The most important asset you have in your organization is your people. Their innovative potential is waiting to be unleashed. Instead of waiting for them to prove they're innovators and waiting for them to emerge, you can do something about it! 

Anyone can learn to become an innovator. It's not magic, it's a buildable, teachable mindset and skillset that anyone can learn. 

If you need help with this, please reach out. We'd be more than happy to help!

About the Author

Leo is a people and heart-first entrepreneur who believes everyone can be an innovator. An innovator himself, with 55 US patents and over 20 years of experience, Leo has come alongside organizations like Chick-fil-A and guided them to unleash the innovative potential of their employees by transforming them into confident innovators.

Leo’s friendly, joyful and enthusiastic demeanour makes the journey to innovation exciting and attainable. Leo’s also a LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® trainer & facilitator who believes unlocking innovation takes new approaches.

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