Innovation and Distraction

There are events in our lives that mark us and define generations. Each generation has an event that connects us. We can all remember where we were when the twin towers fell, for example. I think that this is true professionally as well.

For me, it was the release of the iPhone.

I received my first iPhone from the good people at INC. Magazine. The company I was working for had been listed on the INC 500 list for the 4th time, and at the celebration event, American Express gave everyone a free iPhone! This was magical for me!! Looking back at the 4GB model now, I can't help but laugh!

The past 10 years since that moment have been amazing. We can all think of a thousand ways that our lives have changed because of this innovation. It has also drawn our attention to the need and desire to innovate within our own teams. This is good...but can also be a huge distraction. 

True innovation comes from solving problems that matter.

Clean water problems. Access to medicine problems. Quality education problems. These are problems that matter and some innovative solutions have been found in the past 10 years that are literally changing the world. 

Today I'm encouraging you to lead your team well. Stay focused. Stay on mission. Yes, innovate! But first ask "why?" Why does this problem matter? How does it accomplish your mission? Solving problems that don't matter isn't innovation, it's a distraction. In your determination to move your organization forward, be careful not to confuse pet projects masquerading as game-changers with true innovation. These are merely distractions. 

Media Tractor