“You Can’t Innovate Yesterday”
-- Al E. Bavry, CEO, Kimal Lumber & Hardware
It always amazes me just how "20-20" hindsight can be. With absolute dead accuracy, you can go back two months, two years, whatever, and see what actually happened. O.K., I know I'm describing “the obvious and already known.” Too often in our Industry, I see folks “go back,” look at historical (may I say, hysterical at times!) data, see an interesting snapshot in time and then try to replicate/innovate around it. I've certainly been guilty of doing that at certain periods in the past--to find a good "Model" or "Experience" and then build something for the future around it.
Don't get me wrong. Life/Business, moving forward, is the sum parts of many things that have happened in the past. And just as a “Heat Seeking” missile is constantly trying to "Zero In" on the moving target, this is how your future goals and "Targets" should be. So here's how I deal with this "Innovation" topic. I often go back and review the company’s metrics, spreadsheets, etc., from the past, and try to filter out good parts of it...but always keeping in mind that “The Past” and now "The Present" and "The Future" are all different dynamics. Now I try to look at "The Present and Future" through a lens as clear and "unfiltered" as possible. But I'm also learning of ways to improve this process...such as getting good Associates involved…
The “Recipe” for Viable Innovation, if I can call it that, is a mixture which includes a "Dash" of the past. Then mix in some “Known” ideas that you feel will work from the present, and add some "Secret Seasoning" from the creative side with good input from great Associates, and come up with a pretty good plan that you feel has a fair chance of succeeding. It doesn't always come out quite right at times, but as with any good “Recipe,” you can always add some more "Seasoning" to try to get it close to “just right.” And I'll finish with this: Make sure you’re having "Creative" fun while you're going through the process. Good Selling, Good Innovation, and Good “Creating.”