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Inspiration & innovation

It is not often you search for the answer to something and come up with advice that may actually land you in hot water. Word to the wise, no matter how uninspired you are I highly recommend you do not ‘Watch children playing at the park’ unless they are your own, but I digress. In a world of risk taking startups, bigger corporates leaping into agile or lean processes, and people generally getting out of their comfort zone to pursue innovation; inspiration and how to keep a hold of it can often be a huge focus for businesses. But what does that actually mean? We take look at three areas to focus on to build, hone and keep you and your team inspired and focused on the innovation at hand.

Focus on the why

When you are pulling all-nighters to get a product live, or shifting a team from an older management structure to a newer, flatter one – it can be hard to be inspired. This is the digging deep period, and it is not always pleasant.

It is at this time, that you rally your team together, keeping them focused on enjoying the tasks at hand – not by focussing on the monotony/hard work/long hours, but on the reasons why they and you, do what you do. It is the belief that spurs your business along, and keeps your team onside even when deadlines abound. Whilst your business may have commercial imperatives, you may find your why is more around building more connected communities, sharing and collaborating or creating open data. These are the essential truths of your business, that get you out of bed in the morning and inspire you and your team to put in your all.

Not sure what your essential truth is? The above video is Simon Sinek speaking at TED about ‘The Golden Circle’, a great starting point to be able to communicate with your team about the why of what you do.

Who inspires you?

It is hard to find a person who cannot list anyone as influential to their journey. Whether it be a chance meeting that has led to someone leaving their job (that happened to me), someone in your industry that has succeeded, or a person from within your team or business that leads from within. The impact that humans have on other humans career trajectories, areas of work, or outcomes, cannot be underestimated. In a practical sense, businesses have a real responsibility to provide adequate mentoring and access to inspirational people, not only from the perspective of keeping people inspired and upskilled, but also as a way to combat an increasingly competitive job market where employees seek roles that are fulfilling for reasons outside of their pay packet.

How we do this can differ from situation to situation. You could offer a speaking series like our GridAKL Conversation series in which residents share skills, learning and expertise with the rest of the resident community. You may wish to put in place an in-house mentor programme, or offer personal development with an external coach who is trained in this area. You may also wish to send your team to industry events, allowing them to not only network with people in their industry but also learn from industry greats; this may include Gather, Webstock, Open Source Con, Semi-Permanent or Xero Con depending on your area of work. The video above is of a speaker from this year’s Kea Inspire (Auckland) event, scroll to the bottom of this page to find out how you can win two tickets to the Kea Inspire Auckland (or Wellington) events.

Celebrate the wins

Inspiration can be squashed by a lack of joy.

Your team may in-fact be the perfect culture fit and you may well be sharing the vision and truth of your business or offering all day long. You and your team may indeed be rubbing shoulders with people that truly inspire you, and you may well be putting out a great product – but you can easily feel awful, abandoned and uninspired by simply not celebrating your wins.

I am not suggesting that you hold a party every time you deploy, or get a bottle of bubbly out for every new client. But if you have a great deployment, say thanks, take a moment out as a team to eat some cake. Perhaps have a weekly Friday meeting in which you all talk about your wins for the week, or do dorky things like award a team member of the month, or have a wall of awesome moments in your office. At the end of the day you will be surprised how inspired your team may be by giving thanks and credit where it is so rightfully due.

Need more in the way of inspiration? Kea Inspire Auckland 2015 celebrates the inspirational tales, amazing outcomes and wonderful work of kiwis all over the globe. This year’s event takes place on June 29th and we have a double pass to give away. Simply tell us who you want to see from the Kea Inspire 2015 line up below and you are in the draw. 

If you are in Wellington, our friends from BizDojo are giving away two tickets to the Kea Inspire Wellington event head over to the BizDojo blog to find out more. If you want to snap up some tickets, head over to the Kea website by clicking here.

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Winners will be notified by COB on the 19th of June 2015 by email. Tickets are not transferable. Prize includes a double pass to Kea Inspire Day Auckland 2015 and this prize is not transferable.