Have You Been Innovative Today?

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As small business owners and entrepreneurs, it’s easy to continue on day-to-day doing what is working now. We track what we’re doing, eliminate what’s not working and follow ideas from other businesses. I personally spend a lot of time reading other blogs, following tutorials and implementing tested and proven strategies. When was the last time I was truly innovative? When did I go with my gut and implement a change to my business based on my own original thought processes and gut instinct? When did you?

I live on the east coast of Massachusetts not far from the ocean. Nearby, there’s the University of Massachusetts School for Marine Science and Technology. They’re in the business of fostering ideas and exploring possibilities. I’m not. I’m in the business of trying to help others while building my business. I’m focused on now and while I stretch to focus longer term, I often come back to now and the next year or two.

“Students Create Wave Energy Device”

So, what got me questioning my strategies? Am I thinking too short term? If I’m only following proven practices and dipping my toes into the same waters as everyone else (I’m thinking Google Plus here) how can I differentiate myself? What can I do differently?

The title of the news article that I just read is “”Students Create Wave Energy Device”.  A professor was helping a town deflect wave energy from a pier. That got him wondering if we could use that energy. An undergraduate class of his was looking for a senior project. They’re now talking about a patent. That is an example of innovation.

So my challenge to myself (and to you) is how can we be more innovative? How can we take a simple fleeting thought and turn it into an idea that could change us or the world around us? Granted, this is a small senior project that may never be patented or commercialized but what if it were? And what is being taught? Can you imagine the excitement and expectation that these students are experiencing? How eager must they  be to not only follow through on this idea but think more?

What are your thoughts?

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Author: Sherryl Perry

Welcome! If you're looking for help building an Internet presence that fits your needs and works for you, you're in the right place. I blog common sense articles about WordPress, social media and SEO. My goal is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs understand their core business. Together, we can develop and implement business strategies that make sense to you.

53 thoughts on “Have You Been Innovative Today?”

  1. Honestly, I’m not that type of person who find myself contented in following the foot-steps of others. Knowing that I have my own mind which I can make use to find other ways to make everything possible for me help me to think bigger goals, long term goals. We don’t really need to stick with a proven ways in order to be successful.

    1. Hi Ana, Thanks for dropping by. I’m not sure how innovative I’m being but I am slating some time out of my schedule to treat myself as a “client”. I definitely have a couple of ideas that I’m going to implement. (I’ll be sure to let you know if what I’m attempting works out.)

      Thanks so much for including me in your list of CommentLuv enabled blogs. I appreciate the link juice!
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Does Your Klout Score Fit Into Your Social Media Strategy?My Profile

  2. Just read this article at the exact right moment. Lately I’ve been thinking about all the potential that lies within each one of us and never gets exploited. Sometimes all it takes to be innovative is trusting yourself and your instincts and then going for it.

    I’ve realized that all ideas should see the light of day somehow. Will they work? will they fail? you’ll never know if you don’t try.

        1. Thanks Rod! I’m glad you didn’t visit my blog sometime between last Saturday afternoon and Sunday night. You would have had the impression that not only did I not reply to comments but that I didn’t know how to design my blog either. 🙂 My theme unexpectedly “broke” readers were presented with black text on a black background. The article that I posted yesterday casts some insight on the process I went through figuring that one out!
          Sherryl Perry recently posted..What Can You Do if Restoring Your WordPress Backup Doesn’t Work?My Profile

  3. Thank you for the warm welcome!

    I guess that in order to be able to make your mind roam free, you have to set it free first. And it’s not so easy to do such a thing if you are burdened with “getting the things done”.

    I speak from my own experience here. No wonder that the ancient philosophers didn’t do anything else than walking and talking around, waiting for the new ideas to spring into their minds. Some idle time is necessary for this.

  4. I completely understand your “concerns” so to speak, about not being to innovative. However, I think that there is nothing wrong with the proven ways of doing things and that we are living in times when people are so desperate to be innovative that they tend to overdo it. I believe in the force of creativity and innovation, but also, I think that real and true inspiration cannot be forced and that ideas come when they are ripe.

    Your personality, obviously, is ready for a fresh idea, so go for it!

    1. Hi Ana,
      I think the reason I found that article so interesting was that I was impressed by the way that professor let himself look at the situation differently. I think sometimes I get so involved with getting everything “done” that I don’t let my mind roam and think of new opportunities. That’s something that I intend to strive more for.

      Thanks for commenting! It’s always good to see new faces here.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..If Your Website Was a Wheel – Is Your Blog the Hub or a Spoke?My Profile

  5. Innovation sure isn’t easy for most of us, but innovation doesn’t have to mean creating a new scientific process or some new smartphone technology. Many of us have businesses which perform a function. A CPA may fill out tax forms and we probably don’t want a CPA who becomes too innovative in that area. However, a CPA can become very innovative in how he markets his services. For example, he or she can innovate by offering to have your car detailed during consultations. A crazy idea perhaps, but these are the types of innovations that we can all come up with.

  6. Hi Sherryl,
    I am fascinated by the topic of creativity and innovation. I read anything I can get my hands on about the topic. I even enjoy learning about it from a anatomical point of view and exploring how it affects marketing. I invite you to read one of my latest posts called: “7 Secrets to Unleashing Your Creativity”.

  7. Loved this post. I for one felt inspired as you spoke about students. Though they were collegiate, all students down to kindergarteners have creativity that if tapped with the right leadership could spawn brilliant talents and innovations. The same is true for businesses. Daniel Pink’s book “Drive” talks about new measures that many companies are taking. With them, employees get time to work on any project that they want for a certain amount of time during their work week. From these “free for all” moments have come lots of the coveted technology and products we use today.

    1. As adults, we sometimes don’t allow ourselves time to be creative. Our day-to-day responsibilities can get in the way. I too was inspired when I read that article. I’ve spent quite a bit of time at the ocean this summer and I have never looked at the waves and thought about harnessing energy. I’ll have to read the book you recommended Keyuri. I think I’d enjoy reading it.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Google+ Social Network – Part of Your Business Strategy?My Profile

  8. There’s an old saying there is nothing new under the sun. And I sometimes think that’s true. Aren’t we all building on what other people have done before? Coming out of an agency background, the really innovative ideas were often the ones that cost the least amount of money to implement. My creative director used to say, “there are no big ideas or small ideas, just powerful ideas.” Girls have played with dolls since time immemorial, but American Girl turned dolls and accessories into a money-making machine. You don’t even need to add value. Does anyone remember the “pet rock” fad in the mid-1970s? Can you imagine anyone buying a box with a rock in it for a pet? But that idea made its creator advertising executive Gary Dahl a millionaire before the fad flamed out. I personally would like be innovative AND add value. But, as Susan says, maybe what we should strive for for is continuous improvement and possibly along the way we will come up with a brilliant, innovative idea!
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted..Is Your Company Socially Media Savvy? Take the QuizMy Profile

  9. As a blogger, being innovative could really help you to create a website that would simply be unique.. from the layout up to its content. not all people are blessed with this kind of talent but everybody is given the chance to learn how to be innovative in their own way..

  10. Innovation is the only thing that sticks because people are going to find a way to clone every thing else. I am trying to re-write my about page and I am guessing that requires a lot of innovation. Anyone who has shared that weird feeling of ironically not knowing what to write in a page that is exclusively dedicated to them knows how difficult it is to write an about page 😉

    Hope I come up with something 🙂

    1. Good luck Rohan. I seem to be constantly tweaking my profile on social networking sites. You need to be innovative there too while still keeping in mind SEO. It’s a constant battle. What I still need to do and haven’t yet is make a site for the domain name of my name. I guess it would help to almost think of it in the 3rd person. Does that make sense? 🙂
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..If Your Website Was a Wheel – Is Your Blog the Hub or a Spoke?My Profile

      1. Yup! that makes a lot of sense, because the nature of our business blogs being a on the serious side, that lays few constraints on us on how we design the site and how we share information on the blog. Like for both of our blogs, we have to make sure we are providing lot of information to keep the people interested and hence we lose the chance to show our work like a portfolio. Having a personal branded blog can give us the freedom to put up personal information, previous work records, expertise and portfolios because that is what people are looking for on a personally branded domain.

        Great thought, you should definitely go ahead and do it… 🙂

        For a person of your technical expertise in wordpress you could have your site up and running in under an hour 🙂

  11. I’s funny that you mention google+ because I have been trying to think of an innovative way to use that social tool. Perhaps it will be my opportunity to show the more lighter side of myself. It can be where I loosen up my tie and offer something different than what I offer on facebook and twitter. That’s something I’m still considering. But there never seems to be enough hours in the day.
    Dennis Salvatier recently posted..Compromise is King?My Profile

    1. Hi Dennis, That might be an interesting strategy for you to use Google+ differently from Facebook and Twitter. I honestly believe that the audience at Goggle Plus is more B2B than B2C and that’s how I’m approaching it. I tend to always look at my audience as B2B and although I have a presence on FB, I’ve never directed that much energy to it. Keep us posted. Looking at Google+ as an opportunity is a smart thing to do for sure.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Low Cost Resources Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs Can AccessMy Profile

  12. Sherryl,

    Before I even began reading the article, when I read the title I already knew my answer was NO. I agree that we can get bogged down in the daily living and running our business and forget about challenging ourselves or stepping out of our comfort zones and trying something new. Hopefully the next time I come up with a new idea, I will implement it and not put it on the back burner thinking I will get to it.

    Great article,

    1. That’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do Jennifer! Implement ideas rather than add them to my “to-do” list has become my new mantra.

      BTW – I read your interview with Ian Brodie and was inspired to take a new look at how I’ve been using keywords. Currently, my sources of traffic has been pretty much split between referral, search and direct. I would like to improve my search traffic in hopes of improving my page rank. (I’m not sure if it works that way but it can’t hurt.) Anyways, after reading Ian’s article, I plan on developing a keyword strategy looking at my niche reader rather than writing and then figuring out what my keywords should be. 🙂 (I promise to not sacrifice readability for SEO though.)
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..If Your Website Was a Wheel – Is Your Blog the Hub or a Spoke?My Profile

  13. My blog site is on hold right now. It looks flat and doesn’t know much to organize it. How I wish being innovative just come naturally through me. As of now, I don’t have a good idea on how to make it work, so here I am scanning anything that concerns blogs. Thank for the tips

    1. Whenever I start to build a new website, I look to the competition for inspiration. Of course, I want to differentiate and would never dream of copying someone’s work but seeing what others have accomplished can be motivating. You can also look at other sites and see what you don’t like. That might get you thinking too.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..6 Reasons to NOT Build a WebsiteMy Profile

  14. Hi Sherryl,

    I love your thought about innovation and I love the response here in this thread!
    Reading and learning new things is part of my daily routine and I enjoy -just like you- checking out different blogs to find out more and expand my horizon. Interacting with people with different backgrounds but especially different ages inspire me a lot.

    As a professional chef, I always enjoyed doing working processes a little different from what my (male) colleagues thought was how it was “supposed to be done”. As an artist, I want to help other artists improve their online presence because I know that we approach things differently (right-brainers here..) and struggle sometimes getting things logically organized. I am hoping to expand more on this idea and be more innovative with my concept.

    You just inspired me to work harder on this!! Thank you 🙂

    Franziska San Pedro
    The Abstract Impressionist Artress

    1. Thanks for letting me know that you were inspired to work harder by my post Franziska. It’s motivated me too. I came across a post yesterday about optimizing our posts with keywords for SEO and I realized that I need a keyword strategy for my overall site rather than looking at keywords on a post by post basis. I think I’ve been missing the mark on that.

      I didn’t know you were a professional chef! That doesn’t surprise me. I think cooking can be a form of art. 🙂
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Google+ Social Network – Part of Your Business Strategy?My Profile

  15. Coming from a background that puts major emphasis on project management, I sometimes spend as much time on the strategic part as I do on the daily to-do list.

    I did manage to depart from the norm, at least on the blog side, by writing something less business focused and more for the fun of it. The innovation wasn’t in writing, it was in posting it. As for truly innovative ideas, I keep a notebook, write in it as something strikes, and try to bring some of those ideas closer to reality as the ducks line up.

    Thank you because sometimes just having conversations like this one serves as a catalyst to bring forth something new and wonderful.
    Vernessa Taylor | CoachNotesBlog recently posted..Is Blogging Making You Sick? Doctor, Doctor!My Profile

    1. Thanks for joining our conversation Vernessa! Sometimes, I write articles like this because something has inspired me and made me think. It’s a little bit of a departure from some of my posts but I believe that anything that makes us think helps us with our overall business strategy. I’m glad to see that people are sharing here. This is a catalyst for engaging and supporting each other.

      I have that same project management background as you and can certainly relate to the continuous improvement cycle that Susan and Kathleen talked about too. 🙂
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..6 Reasons to NOT Build a WebsiteMy Profile

  16. Hi Sherryl,
    Innovation and gut instinct are paired much like a mom and her intuition. Moms intuitions oftentimes result in a decision others might not see as fitting/correct yet end up to be the perfect solution. Creative parenting worked for me. Innovative responses invoked thought. This approach especially helped with those teenage years.

    As Susan pointed out, innovation isn’t necessarily big and I agree it leads to continuous improvement. Having chaired a parochial school board for many years, I can tell you continuous improvement is the basis of a school accreditation process. I believe a similar process should exist in our own lives as well. Sometimes all it takes is tiny spark, thinking outside the box, to evolve and result in huge improvement!

    Very thought provoking post. Really enjoyed the conversation.
    Have a great weekend 🙂
    kathleen@midlife recently posted..Is the Social Media Landscape Influencing your Family?My Profile

    1. Thank you so much Kathleen for adding your insight. The few times in my life when I haven’t gone with my intuition, I’ve ended up regretting it. I think as a woman, I often concentrate on making sure everyone else around me is taken care of and I forget that I need to sit back and reflect. To me, that’s a key to reflecting and making changes. I definitely agree that innovation doesn’t need to be big to have a big impact.

      I appreciate all of the thoughts and insights that everyone here brings. 🙂

  17. I think when people hear the word innovation they automatically think of something big. To me it can start out just by thinking of how can something be improved or done differently and that sparks ideas. It also leads to continuous improvement. I like to have at least one project progressing as well as the day to day business. Above all it takes getting into action.
    Susan Oakes recently posted..Your Attitude Can Affect Marketing SuccessMy Profile

  18. One thing when you are innovating is that you are using different energy. But doing the day to day things are important too and that is why we need to take time out to dream because that is where innovation comes. Ask the what if question at least once a day. Thanks for sharing Sheryl

    1. Thanks for mentioning energy Roberta. That’s a great point. I actually got excited just reading the story about the professor and his students. I remember the energy and excitement of discovering new things. I think as I get older, I sometimes spend too much time working on my “to-do” lists. As you suggest, I should ask the what if question daily.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Low Cost Resources Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs Can AccessMy Profile

  19. Sherryl thanks for the post. Sometimes we just too caught up in the day to day logistics of getting stuff done and keeping up (google+) with all the latest bright shiny things. Giving yourself some time to actually think about things differently is crucial to moving on to success. Thanks to Kim Castleberry for sharing your post on Twitter. I look forward to hearing more from you.

  20. Agree with you Sherryl that we need to be innovative in life.

    However, as Julie points working on innovations and thinking long term has a down side as well. So a balance between doing what’s working now and developing an innovative project for the future is probably the best approach. That way you kill two birds with one stone.

  21. Hey Sherryl, great post. I think my problem is that I am always thinking long-term and creatively that sometimes I get ahead of myself. I am working on one of those things right now – but trying to bring it down to the most basic level and it is looking good. I am working with someone in the UK right now who does workshops and presentations on a specific training product (can’t say too much at this point) LOL but he and I are working together to get his training online, package, it and sell it. Keep your fingers crossed for us 🙂
    Julie Weishaar recently posted..LAUGH Gosh Darn It!My Profile

  22. Sherry

    I “liked” this post because I feel it is inspirational and valuable. It provided a new channel of thought for me. Thinking more on innovation is a great challenge that I want to take.

    Thank you for sharing this post.

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