Being an innovator in the workplace

I had my regular meeting last week with my CTO to catch up and we ended up getting a little philosophical about my role at work.  We discussed many of the successes that I have had in the past and where he sees me contributing the most.

I am continuously trying to see new boundaries we can push through, what features we can sell or offer and how we can be innovative to increase revenue.  While this typically comes easy to me because of my extensive background in this industry it is not really a repeatable process by the rest of the team members that I work with.

As such, we discussed how I need to continue to test the boundaries for new opportunities while keeping an eye out for areas that can be easily executed on by the rest of the team.  I was told that I am on the frontier and my job is to find the easiest way for everyone else to have the success that I have.

We put together a simple model to represent this approach.

Please excuse how crude the diagram is.  Simply put as someone who discovers new channels of innovation at the company, the breadth of my reach is much wider than what can be executed day in and day out by the remainder of the team.  I am not saying anything negative about the rest of the team, it is just a matter of individual focus.

My job, as an innovator, is to test the boundaries of new ideas and figure out what is the best and most appropriate for the rest of the team.  This, of course, only applies to my area of focus, not the company at large.

If I expect everything I figure out to be adopted I will not be able to continue the search for new innovations.  Instead I will be stuck supporting the tasks/duties that I have introduced.  From this, I become a bottleneck and instead of innovating I actually become more stationary in my job (very stationary).

In conclusion, it is best for someone who is on the forefront of ideas to find out what is the most sustainable and repeatable in the organization.  Once it can be adopted and supported by the rest of the organization I can move on to discover a new idea.

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