Life Lessons Spark Creative Confidence

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Sandra Arico - Head of Innovation at Swisse Wellness - believes everyone has the capacity to innovate because we can all play a role by connecting our own unique experiences and ideas in new ways. She shares five invaluable lessons from her life...

Life Lesson #1:  A fearless, insatiably curious mindset will set you apart 

Be undaunted by not knowing how to do something. Be insatiably curious. Just go ahead and put yourself out there. 

Life Lesson # 2:  Question and test the status quo 

Never be too quick to blindly accept what a big exec or a big brand says, just because they are who they are. Start with ‘they could be wrong’, not simply ‘how do we accept the status quo and just do what we’ve been asked’. 

Every next step should be guided by intuition and creative exploration, but also be informed by evidence. Look at the market. Talk to people. Test. Create prototypes. Test.

Be brave and put yourself in harm’s way by asking all the questions, including the dumb ones.

Life Lesson #3:  Be well prepared

It can be scary when challenging C-level suits with fresh ideas - particularly if you’ve discovered that their strategy for a direction or concept is unlikely to succeed. 

You’re going to be grilled. So when you’re pitching your ideas or pushing back against ‘those who know’ you can’t rely on gut feel, you also have to be totally prepared. 

If you’re going to swing change – small or large - you have to do it fully equipped with your package of connected ideas, creativity, collaboration, research and testing. It’s the full picture that creates the magic.

Life Lesson #4:  Making adoption of change that little bit easier

If a great idea is set to transform the organisation, but innovation isn’t core business, the project will quickly die off if it doesn’t secure a passionate, C-level champion to advocate for it and drive change forward.

If traditional business structures are the treacle slowing a large program, create autonomous internal cells that can be an agile nucleus for innovation and stepped change

Life Lesson #5:  You can’t put innovation in a box

Any role with ‘innovation’ in the title needs to be quite loose. It won’t work if there are stipulations around ‘this is exactly what we want and these are the deliverables’. 

You need the flexibility to shake things up, bring new perspectives, and ask all the dumb questions!

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