The Secret to Breakthrough Innovation: Iteration

July 20, 2017

The Secret to Breakthrough Innovation: Iteration

If you are not improving, evolving, and always striving to be better, then I believe you are getting worse. There is no middle ground. No successful way to maintain status quo. There is no third option — work to get better, or you are sliding back. The challenge is how do you improve? How does your team or company get better? It requires change, which is never easy, but there is no choice. There is no decision to make — we must change. We must get better.

When you think of change or improvement, do you think of something that is disruptive, breakthrough, maybe new and exciting? Or do you think small, incremental changes? I know most start with what could be — grand possibilities! It’s understandable, improvement or innovation under that lens sounds exciting, and the fact of the matter is that vision is necessary. You and your team need to be clear about “what could be” — a way to paint a picture of what the future will be. These exciting ideas and new possibilities are a great starting point. The trap is when we think that is the next step — point A is where we are today, and point B is our vision. We want the end-result today, and many times expect we can get there with some magical quantum leap to our future state. The result is — we become paralyzed with inaction because we cannot get there in one step, and we end up never taking that first step.

Reality check — improvement is a process, and you cannot realize the grand vision overnight. It takes time, commitment, hard work, and everyone working together in the same direction. This creates meaningful change and potentially can create exciting innovation. You need to create a system of iterative innovation and/or a roadmap that gets you to the future state. These are small, digestible advancements that keep notching you forward. They are not necessarily exciting, but they are unquestionably powerful.

While you can start with the end in mind, you must accept the first step is not even close to your vision, but you must get started. Even a small step gets things in motion because it creates momentum toward the future state, providing a step to build on. A recent example of this at Awecomm is our client portal. We have a grand vision for what that will be and the value it will provide our clients. We are piloting our first iteration now because we have to get started with step 1. It is not easy, and we know it is a long way from what we want it to be, but step 1 is one step closer to our ultimate vision.

What step forward do you need to take? What are you waiting for? Just go! Take that first step toward your future state.

David Townsend

President and COO - David is a Business and technology leader who drives innovative change, and has an exceptional talent for connecting people, process, and technology to meet the demands of the business. Above all else he is committed to the success of the team, helping Awecomm optimize performance and deliver exceptional results.

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