Solving a problem. Improving a process. Building a new system. There are countless ways to innovate at work. 

Unfortunately, it’s easy to fall into a comfortable routine. We get busy with our day-to-day tasks and responsibilities. Brainstorming and innovating fall to the side. 

Introducing new ideas or new ways of approaching our work is critical for professional success. Your organization benefits, of course, but so do you. You’re working those creative muscles and serving as an example of how to break the mold. 

Innovation provides a competitive advantage. Participants will be attracted to continuing education programs that are fresh and different. If every program looks exactly the same, how do you choose? But when one program stands out, it gets their attention. Tap into innovation for that competitive edge. 

Innovation increases your professional relevancy. Innovators rise to the top (think Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos). Not every idea will be a winner, but innovating also means taking a risk and not being afraid to try. Establish yourself as an innovator and colleagues will notice. 

Innovation fosters teamwork. You get an idea and share it with a colleague. She adds an element you hadn’t thought of adding. You share the concept with other team members. They help refine it. Soon, you have a viable idea that’s ready to test. Truly, innovation is built on collaboration. Every organization can benefit from greater teamwork.   

How can you make innovation a bigger part of your professional career? 

  • Be open to feedback from participants and stakeholders. Necessity is the mother of invention, right? Similarly, innovative approaches can be the result of customer feedback. Be a person who asks for and accepts feedback – positive or negative. 
  • Carve out time for collaboration. If you put it on the calendar, it’s more likely to get done. Schedule monthly or quarterly brainstorming meetings with your team. Encourage everyone to come with ideas big, small, good, not so good, fully developed or seeds of innovation. 
  • See failure as a positive. Nothing squelches innovation like a working environment where failure is avoided at all costs. Innovation comes with risk. And with risk, there will be both rewards and failure. Use the failures as opportunities to adjust and learn. 
  • Learn from others. Make time for professional development – reading, watching webinars, attending conferences. Study how others in your field are innovating. Which of their ideas might be modified for your program? 

If innovation hasn’t been core to your professional career, now’s the time. How can you disrupt the normal ways of doing business?

At GCEA, we believe in the power of innovation. Let us help you thrive as a continuing education professional. Join GCEA today. Get access to exclusive resources, network with your peers, and learn about current issues and trends in continuing education.