Innovation is a funny thing.
Everyone says they want to be but are afraid to do so when they get the chance.
As someone who is creative, I see opportunities to be innovative all the time but have had clients who swear they want it – and then at the last minute chicken out.
As I type this is see a few posts on twitter about innovation. This from @pamelagrow: Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower. Steve Jobs
I remember sitting down with Jen and Mark and telling them – we will not use the word “innovative” in any of our marketing or mission statements. I had learned through the years that “innovation” had become a scary and bad word. Our clients largely want us to help them do just a bit better than last year.
Everyone wants it but is afraid to be it when the time comes.
Even Jeff Brooks admits in a comment on a recent post: Fundraisers aren’t artists; we don’t get points for originality. The best among us are constantly balancing tried-and-true old techniques with new and original ideas. Tried-and-true usually works — until it wears out. New and original usually doesn’t work — except when we get a winner. (Of course, that winner eventually gets copied and adapted and spreads until it’s old hat.)
My old mentor Steve Thomas was always telling me – don’t be too clever. Clever doesn’t work…
Do we want to be innovative or not?
– gets us fired
– fails miserably
– keeps you awake at night
– gets us hired
– changes ‘the game’
– succeeds amazingly
– gets copied endlessly
Innovation takes courage and guts. It takes trust, time and plenty of headaches.
We don’t strive to torture our clients by pushing the innovation envelope at them constantly, but we do challenge them to think differently about how they communicate and fundraise to their donors. And in return, they challenge us and push us to be innovative in how we do what we do.
The people who are innovative will win. It’s that simple. Be innovative in small ways everyday and for heaven’s sake, don’t be afraid of it.