Creativity may be what drives you to be innovative, but you’ll need to be brave as well.

This image is a graphic recording (or sketchnotes) I created from a brief talk by Trish Martinelli about the personal journey of starting to work in creative ways that leads to being a full-time innovator. It doesn’t matter what field you’re in, or the kind of work you do, it matters that you overcome both the “self-talk” of doubt that comes when you go against the tide and, perhaps even more importantly, when you can stand your ground to face un-tested opposition to your innovative work. Bravery is a key strength needed for innovators to use and for innovation to happen, particularly to counter resistance to change in business and in life. Design thinking may sound like a classroom exercise where cool heads prevail, but corporate politics can poison the smallest step towards something different. And shifting a culture through Change Management usually doesn’t sound like there are going to be more fun office parties, corporate swag or the latest portable device to make life wonderful for those below the C-Suite.

Whether or not your kind of innovation work isn’t a product or service, but involves changing a process, re-organizing a business, or changing the business culture, you most certainly will be challenged with questions as direct as, “Who authorized you to have ideas?” or other ways of creating an “US vs THEM” situation. Will you be pitted in the middle? Reframe the concept of being innovative as something that everyone has input and a stake in, so the ownership (and celebration of success) becomes, “We all though the world was flat, but look, together, we discovered it’s round!”.
Find your champions, allies and support. Be wary of bad blood you may cause by not considering the politics and culture you are working in and use emotional intelligence to address these situations, and stay brave, even if your idea fails. After all, the process of creativity doesn’t produce a masterpiece every time, but repeated efforts will exercise your strengths, test your bravery, and, with the right audience, right time and right venue, will change the game for all!

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