The Innovation You program emerged from countless requests and conversations we’ve engaged in over the last few years. Our business clients, friends, and families often asked how they could innovate their personal lives. And we gave advices here and there based on our extensive experience working with Fortune 500 companies to develop customized business innovation practices.
We heard from some friends who needed some advice to get through some rough spots in their lives. Some decided to get a new career or a new life across the ocean. Some just needed a little change, others a bigger change. Through it all, we noticed tremendous similarities between business innovation and personal innovation. We saw people who believed, who stayed focused on their dreams but went nowhere, and we saw others who embarked on seemingly random endeavors and succeeded. We saw that things that most people expected would work didn’t, and things that seem to be too crazy to work, in fact, did.
During the economic recession, more people came and said, “I don’t know what to do. Strategies and things that worked for me before don’t anymore,” or “I realize now that I have to change my life. This can’t continue. But I don’t know how.” The crisis had made people more open and ready to change, and yet they did not know how. And that’s how this Innovation You program emerged.
We created Innovation You because we want to share the principles of those effective practices that worked in industries and businesses and apply them to personal lives. We want to help you, just as we helped all our business clients. Through Innovation You, you’ll create the right mindset and develop an innovation plan that is right for you.
Those effective principles you’ll learn are rooted in real life. They are inspired by the true stories of our friends and family, who showed tremendous courage in the face of adversity: in battling cancer, coping with the loss of loved ones, dealing with broken family and broken dreams, both personal and professional. Innovation You, in essence, is a collection of wisdom, of past successes and failures. It is a journey in which we ask you to join.
Let’s make us new.
The Innovation You Concept and Principles
Contrary to other popular self-improvement systems, the Innovation You program is not based on your ability to wish or picture what you want, nor is it based on doing what you do best; which seems to be the prevailing wisdom of most systems. Instead, Innovation You program is founded on the idea that we need to be more than who we are; that our success depends on our ability to understand ourselves, capitalize on our strengths and accept our weaknesses but compensate them at the same time. Furthermore, it is imperative that we understand how we fit into and function in our world. We do not live in isolation. We have family, friends, co-workers, evil neighbors, an exasperating sister, etc. All our actions and relationships influence each other. We cannot make decisions just because we like that course of action. We need to weigh our personal needs against those of our spouses or children or parents or anyone else who depends on us. Furthermore, things happen. Tornedos rip through a community; your children’s school budget has been cut; your brother lost his job and needs a place to stay. We all have our own complex web of relationships and obligations that we have to acknowledge.
The Innovation You program gives you a structure to look at those relationships around you, not only as constraints, but also as opportunities. Your neighbor may be just the resource you need to record your own album this summer. The connections you kept from your old job may open the door to a new line of business. The key ability of a successful innovator is to recognize challenges and seize opportunities. An innovator needs to “creativize,” to look at the world through various lenses and employ their own brand of creativity into their everyday lives. They open their horizon to encompass people with opposing viewpoints who can help them grow. They need to learn to read their situations, work with new strategies, and adjust their plans as needed. A successful innovator continues to reinvent themselves, knowing that there is no “there,” that there is always more. Life is a journey of continual growth.
In Innovation you, we’ll show you how to grow.
The Innovation You Model
The Innovation You program analyzes you in three levels: personal, communal and universal, because your relationships with the world around you influence your actions. Think of yourself like nesting dolls: each version of you is enclosed inside the next. Each of you is an independent individual, master of our own fate, yet you are also members of one or more families, businesses and other communities. You are also citizens of a country, actors in a global market, and a part of the universe. Each level has some claim on you, setting some limits and offering some opportunities. As such you need to understand what happens in all three levels to make the right choices and to seize the right opportunities.
The Individual Level
The individual or “I” doll is the smallest, describing your relationship to yourself, your values, dreams, and skills. While it is crucial for you to find your personal happiness, if you only focus on this level you will never find long-term success and satisfaction.
The Communal Level
Enclosing the “individual” doll is the mid-size doll that describes the communal level, the level of “they.” At this level you exist in relationships to communities of all kinds, including families, businesses, schools, etc. These communities offer chances to express your desires, values and beliefs as part of a group. They also offer some protection from the largest level, and some chance to benefit, from the enormous changes at the universal level.
The Universal Level
The biggest doll is the “universal” level: it describes you in relationship to those universal forces that are too big for any of us to control. They are nature, markets, technologies, and other uncontrollable forces. This universal “it” acts on you, but you do not act on it. You can only respond to it. You can’t reach out your arms and stop a hurricane, but you can watch the weather channel, make provisions and plan ahead of time. When there are changes on the universal level, you have no choice but to observe and to respond.
You need to understand your relationship with all three levels in order for you to innovate successfully. To do so, take the Innovation You assessment here
The Four Basic Types of Innovation Approaches
There are four main approaches to innovation: collaborate (yellow), create (green), compete (blue), and control (red). Each brings you to a different result. So you need to know what you want and then figure out the approach you need to achieve that goal.
Yellows make connections and build communities. Collaboration, teaching, mentoring, and education are very important. This innovation approach is the slowest because it relies on building relationship, skills and competencies, which takes a long time.
Greens are artists. They need to express their creativity and explore all options available to them. Vision, ideas, experiments and freedom are very important. This approach produces radical or breakthrough innovation but is also the riskiest and has the greatest chance to fail.
Blues need to win. They are goal oriented and find energy in performing well and competing. For blues skills and competencies are highly valued. This is the fastest approach to innovate; everything is predicated on prosperity and goal completion.
Systematic, rational and careful, reds do not make decisions in haste. They rely on facts, procedures and rules. Safety, efficiency and reliability are highly important. This approach leads to incremental innovation. It focuses on producing small improvements over time. It also carries the least amount of risk.