Last Thursday we attended the Make Happen conference hosted by the Greater Omaha Chamber at the Holland Performing Arts Center. The main purpose of the event was to inspire attendees to take their ideas and turn them into innovative actions that will positively impact their careers, workplaces and the community.
“Make / Happen is an unanswered question, an incomplete phrase, a / blank / that you must fill in for yourself. This is a conference for doers, not the sit-back-and-watchers.”
Among many motivational speakers, consultant and author Doug Lipp offered his advice for professionals wanting to bring more innovation and creativity to their businesses. Lipp gave insight to attendees by speaking on the same strategies he taught as the former head of training at Disney University.
The following includes a few of Lipp’s best practices for sparking innovation within a company:
Get out of your comfort zone
Lipp started his presentation by asking attendees to write their name as many times as possible with their dominant hand and then again with their other hand within 30 seconds.
He compared this task to the way one approaches daily projects. He said when you change your approach, even in a slight way, the result can be big.
The takeaway: Look at how your coworkers do daily tasks that are similar to your own. What do they do differently? Try it out their way and see if it works better and never be afraid to fail.
Have a diverse team
Lipp encouraged the audience to work with someone they had not met before to figure out a brain teaser he had put in his presentation.
After concluding the exercise, Lipp noted that different minds work better together than one on its own.
The takeaway: A diverse group including people from different cultures, educational backgrounds and ages, is more likely to come up with more creative solutions than a group of similar individuals.
“Use history as a springboard into the future”
Lipp spoke about the numerous challenges businesses face when they consistently go with tried and true best practices. Employees get so used to the day-to-day ways of doing things that they get bored and forget how to brainstorm new creative ideas.
The takeaway: If you want to bring more innovation to your business, you need to create an environment where employees feel comfortable bringing new ideas to the table. Lipp noted that businesses cannot spark innovation without cutting some ties to the past.
Be a better listener
There is no way that one person can have the best ideas all of the time. Lipp spoke about the benefits of being open to other people’s opinions and ideas.
The takeaway: By taking time to listen to your surroundings— whether they are mentors, business leaders, investors, long-term employees or even interns— you keep your mind open to new solutions and creative possibilities.
Leave your ego at the door
Sometimes we subconsciously we build up cases against people and refuse to look to them for solutions or advice. Lipp noted that once you stop thinking of your daily practices as the best ways of doing things you are on your way to innovation.
The takeaway: Don’t be afraid to challenge your tried practices. When you ask yourself why you do the things you do the way you do them, you offer a place for your mind to grow which is conducive to creative energy.