The 10 Words That Can Jumpstart Your Innovation Efforts!


Last month, the Entrepreneur and Family Business Council of DePaul University had me in for a talk to their members – essentially, owners of medium sized enterprises from throughout the Chicago region.

It was held in the Klairmont Kollections museum – what a fabulous event location. I got to hang with what’s known as the “Jetsons car!”

They’ve since blogged my ’10 Great Words’ article from years ago, and I thought did a wonderful rewrite, so I’m reposting it here.

“Some people see the future and see a threat. Innovators see the same future and see an opportunity.”

These are the words of Futurist, Trends & Innovation Expert Jim Carroll. For 20 years, Carroll has been studying what makes companies relentlessly creative and how they achieve success.

He provides guidance on realigning business strategy for fast-paced trends, the threats and opportunities that will impact organizations and how to become more forward-thinking in a world that requires constant innovation.

Our society is changing faster and faster every day. As Carroll says, “some people fear the future and others prepare for it.”

Agility, speed, innovation and acceptance of change are some of the best attributes business owners can have today. In this article, we’re sharing Jim Carroll’s ten words that help individuals and companies make positive steps toward building those attributes and championing the future.

Observe. See what’s unfolding in your sphere of influence and at your company. What do new trends mean to you? What do they mean to your competitors? By observing what’s happening around us, we can become more proactive than reactive.

Think. Analyze your observations. Ask yourself and your team questions. What do you need to change? How can you approach a challenge differently? Where are the opportunities? What can make you better?

Change. Prepare to take action. While things around us change, we can’t get by on doing things the way they have always been done. Gather ideas from your observations and adopt an optimistic attitude.

Dare. Take a little risk. Try something different to see if you achieve different (and better) results.

Banish. No more “What am I going to do today to kill great ideas?” None of “it won’t work” or “it’s too risky” or “but we’ve always done it this way.” Dismiss the innovation killers.

Try. Set bold goals and assign them to a dedicated individual or team. Have confidence that no matter where you are today, you are capable of making change happen. Create a momentum that will have you constantly seeking out new ideas.

Question. Question assumptions of how people want things to be done. Remove those assumptions. There are fascinating things happening in all industries across the world.

Grow. Focus on opportunities and potential. You will grow.

Do. Become action-oriented. Make the time to work on the business and not in the business. The future is coming at us faster than ever before, so there is no time to waste.

Enjoy! The enjoyment is most important. The future doesn’t have to be an enemy.

Carroll advises us to think big – really big – about our business model and industry.

Then, start small. Take on several of the identified small-scale action items and delegate. There is power in experience.

The more we practice challenging ourselves and challenging complacency, the more prepared we will be for the future.

Finally, scale fast. Keep going. Continue to identify challenge areas, assign tasks and get things done.

Beware of what they say about the future: it happens slowly, but then all at once.

10 great words – here I am on stage in Las Vegas laying them out!


THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THOSE WHO ARE FAST features the best of the insight from Jim Carroll’s blog, in which he
covers issues related to creativity, innovation and future trends.