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VOL. 128 | NO. 145 | Friday, July 26, 2013
Graber Atkinson

Michael Graber & Jocelyn Atkinson

Purposeful Innovations

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Many of the Let’s Grow columns discuss practical and theoretical strategies and tactics to help companies better innovate.

While these tips and tools can serve as a guide to creating breakthrough and incremental innovations at your firm, they tend to have a higher rate of success in corporate cultures that provide the process, rewards, metrics, training and resources to innovate. More important, perhaps, is a mindset that fine tunes the organization. This mindset can galvanize a culture. This mindset is based in an overarching purpose.

Therefore, this column will provide a primer on awakening purpose so you can harness the natural unlimited resource of human creativity to discover attainable growth through a real innovation program. Here is how purpose generates innovation after value-generating innovation.

First, demonstrate your foremost purpose and vision. Businesses that share their founding dream create possibility.

Founders are leaders who are on fire set the expectations that their colleagues should be resonant, relevant and creative. This purpose and poise should shake people out of the narrow confines of silos and invite people to create a legacy that will outlive them and deliver real value in multiple ways.

Second, innovations should add value to human life, enrich the health and well being of society. Otherwise, what’s the point? If the creators are not inspired, then the market will not be. This value should be rooted in your purpose.

Three, give freedom to explore and fail, as part of the mission, which seeks to flesh out the purpose. A business built on trust, rather than fear and stress, will have impassioned team members who show commitment and take responsibility. Giving your team the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them will help inspire them each day and remind them what brought them to the business in the first place.

The opportunity to thrive in a healthy culture of innovation, to be a part of something bigger than themselves, to make a difference, to create a purposeful life while earning a living will bring may happy, profitable returns.

Jocelyn Atkinson and Michael Graber run the Southern Growth Studio, a strategic growth firm based in Memphis.

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