Come out of comfort zone, innovate yourself

There are three factors we must constantly keep in mind from now on. That is because we live in a competitive world and efficiency is on top of the agenda (read as self-agenda). There was a time when we used to think about our benefits. Now, the scenario is quite different. ‘Think not what you can get, instead think what you can give’ would have been considered a “philosophical thought”, but now it is reality.
We should pose this question to ourselves — what is our contribution to the world? What are we giving to society or what we are contributing to our work place.
Gone are the days when we had job security because of our qualification and grades in the university. There is so much more than IQ at play to sustain ourselves because ever since emotional intelligence came into focus, the human resources outlook has changed.
Now we ought to think further and that is innovation. Can we innovate ourselves? Is it ever too late? I don’t think so but it could mean a lot of change and move away from our comfort zone. The thought, however, is exciting. Each day, we have an opportunity to make a difference in our outlook on life and career as well.
An interview with the Secretary-General of Research Council of Oman, Dr Hilal Ali al Hinai, on National Innovation Strategy brought about the concept of innovation.
So what is innovation? What are its ingredients?
Dr Hilal defines it as, “Speed, cost and quality.”
“Why did e-banking become so successful? It was faster. People did not have to waste time standing in queues at banks,” he said.
When you can add to that low cost and quality, the combination will inevitably succeed. “What people want is better service at a lower cost,” he added.
That is not all. We need to revisit ‘Speed’. It is here that you come across the value of time. “We must have time accountability. We must consider auditing of time because time is money.”
“In an ideal world, you want a perfect product or service at zero cost and in no time. Any process that brings you closer to that target is innovation. Speed and cost are critical, and quality is important,” he said.
When you are thinking of ideas, there must be others thinking on similar lines. The world is evolving each day when it comes to products and services. Efficiency is something everyone looks for when determining a product or service. Other factors that are important are transparency and the ability to see things happening.
To be an innovator, one of the best ways is look for problems that are prevalent, while others analyse solutions. Whatever the technique, just apply three elements — speed, cost and quality — and you almost have a solution that could be a new product or service. Imagine if we were to apply these on individuals. Imagine the level of efficiency we would achieve.
Education does not stop with degrees. Instead, we should be growing each day, each week, each month and each year. Individually, we should be gearing up for Artificial Intelligence and be a part of knowledge economy. We should be able to guide the younger generation to face the world with different career needs.
As for the current status in our career path, whether you are an employer or employee, think about the application of transparency, having a vision and most importantly, having the faith in oneself to turn the vision into action.
We so often lose our vision. The younger we are, the stronger our vision. Later, it gets diluted with distractions and self-doubts.
It is like researchers coming up with experiments but not reaching the market. So here is more power to staying close to the vision to make it happen. The true potential is much more than we have ever tapped.

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