Many leaders still shudder when they hear the word “innovation.” For most companies, Innovating to build the future business is a very complicated challenge when faced with the daily operation, which absorbs all time, resources and energy.
Thinking about innovating can seem like the beginning of a complex, tedious process, only for the initiated and that happens almost like an act of magic. Yet he tells me Carlos Alvarez, my partner and creative director of RedBox, far from what many think, the secret of an innovation process is in developing the correct habits and the necessary discipline, as it happens with almost everything that works well in any organization.
For Carlos, people and companies are always full of ideas and good intentions, which are useless if they are not specified and put into practice. “Ideas do not last long. You have to do something with them ”, once said the Nobel Prize winner in medicine Santiago Ramón y Cajal.
A successful creative and innovative process, says Carlos, is made up of small, consistent steps, carried out with discipline over time.
Next, I share 4 tips that Carlos Álvarez gives us to make ideas happen, a topic that he addressed in our annual RESET event:
- Create time to create. Set aside 90-minute slots on your calendar to create the new. It can be 90 minutes a month, a week or daily, but you must be consistent and maintain the discipline of not canceling these spaces, and actually occupying them to create.
- Do essential tasks for the idea to happen. Make a list of all the tasks that you consider necessary to make the idea happen. Then go through this list and eliminate non-essential tasks. To detect the essential tasks, identify those that represent a significant advance to make the idea tangible. Once you have identified the really essential tasks, assign them these 90-minute spaces already set aside in your agenda.
- Starts. Writer Mark Twain used to say that “the secret to getting ahead is getting started.” How do you start? Define your essential task, then take the first obvious action, like having a pencil and paper handy or your computer at the ready, and finish with a 15-minute micro-push, which can be to write in 3 paragraphs how the idea works.
- Rest well. Creating the new generates a lot of physical and emotional wear. That is why it is important that you schedule spaces for recovery, rest or entertainment.
In this space that I share with you every 15 days in HIGH LEVEL I like to leave you useful, clear and applicable knowledge in your business. Therefore, in order for you to see that it is possible to make this process that Carlos recommends to us a reality, I share the case of one of our clients: TecnoTabla.
Proteak, the largest forestry company in the country, developed a new MDF (compressed wood boards) business. All MDF brands live in a commodity hell, since they all offer practically the same product.
To create a unique brand with TecnoTabla, the project was divided into several essential tasks:
- Understand the actors of the entire chain: carpenters, architects, designers, industrialists and distributors.
- Understand what makes the brand unique.
- Create a name that evokes what makes the brand unique.
- Create a branding that evokes the purpose of the brand.
- Create a communication strategy for each actor in the chain.
- Land the communication strategy on relevant materials for each actor in the chain.
We focus on understanding the key messages for the 6 different audiences of the new brand, defining who the main target should be and finding that 10% that would make us different to face the competition and get out of the price war.
Thus we were able to build a brand of wooden boards, not a brand of MDF, which is aimed at people who work with wood, who have the final purchase decision and their main concern is the quality of the product, that is, aimed at the carpenters.
Our only angle was to show that not all boards are made from the same wood. An ordinary board is not the same as a board made with “Good Wood”.
From this understanding we build the DNA, name and branding of the new Proteak brand: TecnoTabla.
The result achieved with TecnoTabla makes it very clear to us the importance of turning ideas into essential tasks that, in the medium and long term, generate concrete results and become innovation.
“Where everything seems important, nothing is. It detects the essential few among the trivial many, ”says Greg Mckeown, business strategist, speaker and writer.
READ: Is this the best time to think about the future?
Whats Next? You have to leave the ‘buts’ and start now until innovating is one more habit within your team, whose perseverance – I’m sure – will take them to the future. Are you ready?
Editor’s note: This text belongs to our Opinion section and reflects only the author’s vision, not necessarily the High Level point of view.
Rodolfo Ramirez Founder and CEO of RedBox, the most experienced innovation agency in Latin America, with offices in Mexico City and New York.
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The habit that transforms ideas into innovation – High Level