Discipline, Process, Creativity, and Innovation
In today’s Daily Disruption we’ll take a look at some ideas and observations about business and innovation that are meant to provoke questions and thoughts about your own innovation efforts,
The best lessons for business can often be found in unexpected places. But comedian and musician Steve Martin, in his autobiography Born Standing Up, gives us the ultimate fundamental advice on successful differentiation. “Be so good that they can’t ignore you,” says Martin. One key to Martin’s success was his incredibly disciplined approach to his craft.
The same is true for Jerry Seinfeld. In my work with entrepreneurs and business owners, I often recommend that they watch the Seinfeld documentary film, Comedian. The lesson I want them to learn is about the pure work and sheer perseverance it takes to be a successful comedian.
Business can also learn from the approach that many successful sports coaches take. A prime example would be Coach Nick Sabin of the University of Alabama football team. Alabama is a perennial collegiate football power and is in the hunt to be national champions again this year (long shot after the Auburn game, however!).
A few years ago Fortune magazine did an article about what business leaders could learn from Sabin’s coaching philosophy. Coach Sabin, like many other great coaches, says that the key to being the best is to keep your head down and focus on process. If you are the best at what matters most right in front of you, whether it’s in the weight room or on the practice field, and you carry that focus on process into the game and execute well, then you will succeed.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of counting on blinding flashes of inspiration or creativity to drive the innovations any business needs to sustain success and grow. That’s not the way it works.
On The Disruption Lab’s recent Executive Innovation Program in Barcelona, Spain, one of our most interesting visits was with the leadership of the innovative Sant Joan de Deu Hospital. Jorge Juan Fernandez Garcia, Director of the Innovation Center there, told us, “Innovation does not fail because of lack of creativity. It fails because of lack of discipline.”
It’s a cop-out for anyone to say that they aren’t good at innovation because they aren’t particularly creative. Remember the lessons from Steve Martin, Jerry Seinfeld, Nick Sabin, and Jorge Juan Fernandez Garcia. Creativity, innovation, and, ultimately, success itself, are about discipline, process, and quite simply doing the work. All of us are qualified!