Ingenuity, innovation, inventiveness, improvisation – it seems we’ve been talking about these words for a decade now. In fact, we’ve talked about them so much that I think sometimes the words have lost their meaning, or at least are diluted to a point where their mention causes a roll of the eyes. Yeah I know, I get it, the innovative thrive and succeed. But what does innovation really look like? What is innovation in practice?

That’s why we go to things like TEDx, to see that it’s possible to make a refrigerator that uses no electricity, a device that prevents amputations, a gene map that can save millions of dollars a year. Ideas so worthy that our business problems seem small. These ideas give us hope that in the light of a new day, we can also do innovative things.

However, I reject that notion that the result of innovation is always a “thing” and that innovation comes in response to something that needs to be improved. The height of innovation comes not from what you want to fix, treat, or respond to, but rather what you predict and work to prevent. The distinct shift in mindset from responsive to proactive is critical. But you have to create space to think about the future. It’s just too hard to worry about tomorrow when you’re trying to recruit fingers to put into the holes that keep appearing in the dyke of your present day.

To link these concepts to what Media 1 does, we are all about trying to innovate in the way that companies look at the people who work for them. To get companies to see how people can better contribute in the future and feel better about it. To predict and prevent business conditions that adversely affect those people and promote conditions that enhance both the company and the lives of those who work there. We help you start measuring the things that spur action to innovation in the real world of your business and your people.

I’ll leave you with my favorite slide of the day from Greg Galle, on the six keys to jumping the ingenuity gap. TEDx events are one day that you can dedicate to the future, but they are a just a starting point of changing the way you approach your business and your life. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it.

The six keys to jumping the ingenuity gap