How Do You Define INNOVATIVENESS? Getting it Wrong Could Cost You

Many are aware of the benefits of innovation but struggle with maintaining an innovative culture that consistently generates innovations that keeps your pipeline humming and your bottom line moving in the right direction. So what’s the wind the sales of those companies that seem to always be producing innovations? What is the blind spot that some leader just can’t seem to uncover to dependably produce innovations that have commercial success?

Underlying an innovative culture driven by an innovative leader or leaders is innovativeness. Innovativeness is described in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “the skill and imagination to create new things”, which speaks to the duality of the attribute but just scrapes the surface of the importance of innovativeness to business growth and sustainability.

The first part; skill assumes that there is an amount of expertise involved in the development of innovations. This assertion is relative to the environment or subject matter involved in the innovation development process. For example, to develop innovations in financial management, one should have a deep understanding of the financial management strategies and tactics. Conversely, think about trying to implement an internal innovation for example, around a communications process and the responsible personnel has no expertise in the details of executing a communications plan. Even the most inexperienced leader would suspect this to be a disaster while instead of creating innovation, they create a source of confusion. So it goes without saying that an innovator should have some skill, expertise, and ability in the discipline that they are looking to produce innovations.


The second part of that definition talks about the imagination, which is where the separation begins between companies that time after time generate innovations with commercial success and those that don’t. But what is the imagination that assists in the development innovation?

That’s a difficult concept to describe much less put into action. To make this concept a bit more manageable, lets take the concept of mindfulness, which Psychology Today describes as a state of active, open attention to the present and apply it to the matter at hand.

Innovativeness is a state of mind that is attributable to the recognition and active pursuit of opportunities for innovation.

It’s innovativeness that allows for leaders to leverage the influence of associations, create space for innovation, and apply innovativeness regularly. Innovativeness is the 6th sense that prompts subject matter experts to ask “why” or question whether tasks can be done more efficiently even when they are producing a great customer experience. But how can this understanding translate to improved sales and business growth.

Having an active awareness of opportunities for innovation can permeate every aspect of a business. From the product or service being sold to the operational functions that support whatever is being sold. Thus innovativeness applied to business development may produce ideas that broaden the pipeline or applied to a service sold to consumers may produce opportunities for co-creation. By eliminating the barriers of innovation and actively seeking to apply innovativeness to business development and sales, we can favorably impact business growth and avoid the symptoms of stagnation that so prevalently divert most businesses from reaching their potential.