May 30

The Innovator in Each of Us

“It’s easy to come up with new ideas; the hard part is letting go of what worked for you two years ago, but will soon be out of date.”

— Roger von Oech


On Mackinac Island today, we were reminded about the criticality of innovation in each of our lives.  Yes, each of our lives.  We all have an inner innovator.  Too often we think of innovation as the nth iteration of an aircraft carrier, the latest cool app for your smart phone or the development of a next generation molecule to cure devastating human disease.  And, don’t get me wrong; all of those things are innovative, and potentially critical discoveries, but innovation is more than that.

It’s thinking about the things we do, differently.  It’s solving today’s problems with new solutions.  Innovation can be a new customer service element that improves the overall experience for your client.  Innovation can be a novel filing system, which saves your accounting team time when filing and retrieving records.  Innovation can be rearranging the order of your work day to accomplish the most complex tasks during the times you have the most rest and creativity.

For those of us focused on economic vibrancy, innovation means we must create programs, systems and processes that encourage risk, celebrate failure (which is really just another word for iteration), remove barriers and accelerate outcomes for innovators and entrepreneurs of all shapes, sizes and schools of thought.

Innovation is the courage to wake up today and seek out opportunities to do everything you do better.

Are you ready?

About the author

Leslie Smith

Leslie Smith, President and CEO, TechTown Leslie Lynn Smith was named President and CEO of TechTown in November 2011. In her time at TechTown, Leslie has brought to bear best practices which will help TechTown scale its entrepreneurial support services, including business acceleration, small company incubation, access to space, talent, capital and networking along with core academic and research capabilities at Wayne State University. Prior to coming to TechTown, Smith served as Director of Business Acceleration at Michigan Economic Development Corporation.


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