September 7, 2021
When someone says, “There are no wrong answers,” do you believe them? Or do you start sweating nervously, second guessing every thought you’ve ever had, and then ditch the idea of contributing all together?
It happens to the best of us. Being innovative takes guts. You have to put yourself out there and ignore that clammy anxious feeling. You have to get out of your comfort zone.
Now, if this is starting to sound like the business equivalent of square dancing in the middle of a sermon, I have good news. Innovation can start small. A good place to start is dipping your toe in the pool of disruption. Shake up the way you think, change your process, be the first person to speak up instead of waiting for someone else to go first. Leaders can help their team do this too, by rewarding risk taking.
Malin Liden, heads EMEA marketing transformation office for SAP in Walldorf, Germany. She’s superb at knowing how to create roadmaps for transformation. This helps make sure that the company’s plans for long-term growth actually see the light of day. In our conversation, Malin tells us why people are the heart of innovation and why it’s time to get nice and comfortable with being uncomfortable.
3 Takeaways from my conversation with Malin Liden
Malin believes in not being the smartest person in the room. She learned this from one of her previous bosses who made her question her own abilities. Sound familiar? Instead of cowering away in a corner, Malin flipped the script and decided to pull the good from the situation. “If I don’t feel stupid often, then I’m not learning. I’m in my comfort zone. For me, it’s a warning sign and that has totally turned around my sentiment on feeling stupid.” You either rise or sink to the level of your environment, so make sure to keep good company.
Find supporters to join your crowd. An idea that’s dismissed is only ever a few followers away from being a trend. Like a sports team, a company can take wins and losses together. “Make sure that you create this team environment where we’re in this together. If someone has a weird idea, then it’s not just their idea. It’s actually our idea. So, if people think that we’re weird, at least we’re weird together.” Strength comes in numbers.
Once you feel brave enough to pitch your idea, where do you begin? Innovative ideas should take a person on a journey. Learning how to pitch an idea is an integral part of the “idea” journey. “Start with storytelling to really pitch the idea from the perspective of: Who is it going to benefit? Why are we doing this? What are we hoping to accomplish?” People like to be a part of the creative process, feeling like they have a hand in building this idea. Presenting an over-polished, 10-minute speech that puts half of the room to sleep isn’t going to sell any tickets to your show.
Want to learn more about how to be the bravest and boldest version of you? Watch the rest of our conversation below to hear more of Malin’s wisdom.