Innovation is a messy business, and it happens in gray areas—not well-defined black and white. Innovation is not produced by linear alignment but through constructive conflicts and by fearlessly challenging the status quo.
For me, the biggest reason that innovation is so all-consuming is that it is never fully realized. There is no end. There is only the beginning.
Let’s say you have just developed the best communication device to have your heart rate monitor talk to your smart phone. Great. What’s next? There’s always newer and better technology on the way.
In the words of New York Times columnist, best-selling author and technology advocate Thomas Friedman, the world is fast. Very. And getting faster.
This is what I know about Innovation (with a capital “I” for the added emphasis it deserves):
- It’s a never-ending process that results in breakthroughs that have the power to change the world.
- It thrives best when encouraged to follow a process that breathes life into new ideas, visions and goals.
- It’s always challenging because ultimate success depends on creating disruptive changes in long-held human behaviors and beliefs.
To some, Innovation conjures up an image of a lone inventor in his/her lab having an “aha” moment of success. But in real-world applications, it is far from that.
Unfortunately, from early in our lives, in schools and in the workforce, success is often defined as merely “not failing,” which often curtails even the most creative innovators from pursuing their ideas.
Fear of failure is directly contradictory to what true Innovation thrives on—a mindset of using early setbacks to learn, evolve and flourish. Don’t innovate and you won’t keep up. Don’t innovate and you become irrelevant.
At Qualcomm ImpaQt, we encourage Qualcomm’s most inventive employees to submit their best technology ideas. After a process of thoughtful consideration, we nurture the most promising of those ideas and then work together to bring them to life, one step at a time.
The ImpaQt team serves as a future strategist, technology mentor, and marketing champion to achieve the right result. Specifically, our inventors gain access to subject-matter experts, market knowledge, sponsors, and prototyping support, along with resources to fund and commercialize their inventions.
Simply put, because the Innovation process can sometimes be a chaotic journey of ideation and exploration, we’re here to help smooth out the rough edges and reduce the fear factor.
At ImpaQt, our quest is to change the world through the power of ideas. For me and my team, there is no greater joy than to support others who are trying to do the same in their own unique way.
In my experience, when you create a safe place for employees to innovate and enable your organization to create an innovation program—you have just reached the starting line.
This is where the ImpaQt journey begins.