One of the most memorable lessons I took away from my time at Harvard Business School (HBS) can be summarized in a simple statement: change without value is not truly innovation. At HBS, we discussed case studies on marketing plans, business strategy, operations management, international government, and even individual leadership styles that illustrated this concept again and again. I have since taken this concept and applied it to my own personal brand and development strategy. Ask yourself: What are your personal perceptions of change and value, and how are you defining and achieving innovation in your own life?
Change can be defined as “make or become different”.
Studies suggest that it takes about 60 days for the average person to adapt a new behavior in a way that empowers sustainable change. Such sustainable change is typically possible because over time, the new behavior can become a habit that is automatically incorporated into daily life without much need for additional conscious thought. In other words, it takes about two months to convince your mind, heart, and body to continue doing something new. Change is NOT easy!
Moreover, not all change is good. I have personally experienced myself picking up bad habits or reverting back to old habits that I know are not good for me, and I have witnessed patients, friends, and family repeatedly doing the same. “Bad habits die hard”, but they also often seem to resurrect quite easily.
For all of the energy that you will spend making change, how can you better discern which changes are best to make?
Value can be defined as “importance, worth, or usefulness of something”.
We must understand that not all change, even the “good” kind, is necessarily valuable. I find it easiest to base the meaning of value on my personal mission. Ask yourself, what is important to you, and why? However, that only gets you so far. Such personal insight should also be paired with specific, measurable, and if possible, also objective criteria by which to map out value. Although more challenging in uncharted territory, evidence-based decision-making is key, even if the evidence is actively being gathered and responded to as you go. Businesses measure value by deciding on and tracking key performance indicators for given projects. American doctors are increasingly being held accountable for quality of care metrics to increase the value of healthcare. On an individual level, you can also find creative ways to continuously re-evaluate your mission and use surveys, exams, credentials, deliverables, income, and other objective criteria to keep yourself aligned with the true definition of value.
Innovation can be defined as change that creates value.
When you are able to harness change that is truly valuable and therefore embodies the essence of innovation, then you have changed the game, my friend. In fact, you may find yourself playing an entirely different game altogether, whereby the unique value you create paves a new path to opportunities and consequent success. Do your best to be bold enough to learn and try new things, because some will eventually inspire you to make the changes that will bring your innovation to the next level!!!
With Love and HAPPIness,
The HAPPIest MD
Also, if you’re an aspiring or active entrepreneur or otherwise curious about innovation in a business setting, check out the Harvard Business Review article, “The 5 Requirements of a Truly Innovative Company”: