In this week’s example of product development and innovation training from the news we applaud a recent article from T+D Magazine. Authors Terry M. Farmer and Xavier Butte offer a great description of three observable behaviors of everyday innovators.
Farmer and Butte counter a popular belief that an innovation mindset is something you’re born with. Only a small population of geniuses possess the ability to make great discoveries and chart new territories.
Not only is that not true, but holding this belief unnecessarily places innovation out of reach.
The authors also defy the belief that innovation is a product of happy accidents. Great discoveries are made out of a series of mistakes. We’ve discussed this before, considering the well-known example of the “accidental” invention of 3M Post-It Notes. In this context, we discussed the idea of “subtraction thinking,” deliberately stripping away an element of a product or process that was previously believed to be essential.
In their behavioral take on innovation, Farmer and Butte, propose three intentional and measurable behaviors in innovators via the ARC Model (Acknowledge, Reframe, and Connect).
- Acknowledge. The stage is set for innovation when we acknowledge our current circumstances. By studying both what is and is not going well, we get a clear picture of where we start and what the issues are.
- Reframe. The next step toward innovation is to reframe problems by conceptualizing desired outcomes. What, specifically, would be better?
- Connect. After we have an accurate view of where we are and where we want to go, we can connect people, data, experiences, and ideas that will carry us in the right direction.
Not only are these three behaviors observable, but they’re trainable. Innovation doesn’t have to happen by accident, nor must it be reserved for the intellectual or creative elite. Innovation behaviors can be trained strategically and directly.