There are two types of innovation. The first is the kind where someone identifies a need that has yet to be fulfilled and develops a product or service to fill that market gap. In this case, you have nothing to base your path forward on because you’re a first mover. The rule book for the new industry you just created doesn’t exist yet, leaving you with very little if anyone to look to reassure you that anything you are doing will actually work.
If you think that’s difficult, try challenging an established industry, one with a stone tablet of a rule book on how to be successful. This brings into light the second brand of innovators, the ones pushing to disrupt the status quo. These movers and shakers face all the same obstacles as first movers, but to go one step further, they now have opposition, armed with results and case studies, to back up their reasoning to keep things the way they’ve always been done.
This brings up my main question, and the conversation I had with TG Livak. How the heck do you break path dependence and push for initiatives that redefine the way you do everything?
Know the Business
When your proposals aim to disrupt the status quo, your dots need to seamlessly connect. For that to happen, you first need to know the territory. Alignment is key to introducing new ideas. If you want to bring change, you need to know your business inside and out. If you can’t articulate what it is you do, why it matters, and a general idea of how to get from point-A to point-B beforehand, your idea will fall flat.
Know Your Audience
Next comes the challenge of identifying those within your organization that can make your idea a reality. Assuming the key decision makers, or the people who have the power to say yes to your ideas, are easy enough to identify, your next objective should be to isolate the social influencers. These individuals are not always management level, but can best be described as the ones that employees turn to for a final opinion to influence their own actions. Once you have these two groups identified, look to understand their motivations to buy in, as well as what might prevent them from investing in your idea.
Know How to Pitch
In today’s digitally connected world, the average person has about an 8-12 second attention span. This means that extra time you put in to thinking about how you will craft your message, where and when you will deliver it, and the tone and voice you will use to resonate with your audience is no longer an option, but rather essential for success.
Still want to challenge the status quo?
It turns out none of that even comes close to phasing TG. You see, TG’s the type of person who’s obsessed with finding better and faster ways of doing just about everything. Whether it’s finding a way to cut the time it takes to get ready in the morning in half, or how to re-engineer internal processes to maximize efficiency and effectiveness for the organizations she works for, she has an intuitive knack for elevating just about anything to its full potential. Add to that her 7+ years of marketing experience, TG understands how to engage and guide audiences to a desired action, thus bringing a unique set of skills to the table that help make ideas happen, inspire change, and drive organizations forward.
If you’d like to connect with TG, you can find her on LinkedIn here (click here) and Twitter here (click here).
To learn more about overcoming path dependence and bringing new and innovative ideas to the table for your organization, I highly recommend the following two books.
- Illuminate, by Nancy Duarte
- A Beautiful Constraint, by Adam Morgan & Mark Barden