This is a question I’ve been reflecting on recently, especially in light of how the pandemic has spurred businesses to embrace new technologies and adapt to new ways of working. Expressions like “innovative solutions” and “innovative thinking” are tossed around a lot, but what do these expressions actually mean when they’re put into action each day?
Being “innovative” is about more than the latest and greatest technology. It’s a mindset that impacts how you approach every aspect of your job. It’s not just knowing how something works but asking why and how in order to find new ways to help others. For me, it’s starting every day from the perspective of, “What can I do differently that will help our team be more successful?”
The Importance of “Why” and “How”
When I started at Lucas Group, I supported recruiters as a Sales & Marketing Researcher, gaining a deep understanding of their day-to-day needs. Now that I’m a System Administrator with the corporate team, my earlier “in the field” perspective informs how I approach each challenge. Solutions that look good on paper may not always make sense for a recruiter’s daily life. I’m continually pushing myself to be curious. Why is this process the way it is? Is there a way to streamline this approach? How can I make life easier for the field?
For me, a big part of the innovation mindset is being purposeful and intentional in how I approach problems. I research and test products to see which solutions will help our recruiters do their jobs more efficiently and streamline tasks. With every product, I’m testing not just how it’s used, but also how easy it is to learn.
One challenge with technology implementation is that learning a new product or platform can sometimes be too time-consuming or burdensome, negating any benefits. By trying to solve a problem, we’ve created a new one. That’s why I’m very focused on IT support questions, training and onboarding. To be successful, I need to adopt the mindset of a recruiter and imagine using this product in their environment. What will they be doing during their day? How can I adjust a training to be more engaging? Are there practical ways we can enhance an existing product to minimize the burden of learning something brand new? It all comes down to helping recruiters be more productive and successful.
Creating and Sustaining a Culture of Innovation
As the youngest member of our IT team, I was a bit nervous speaking up in meetings when I first began this role. Would colleagues with 10, 20 or 30-year tenures take my perspective seriously? Luckily, I’m part of a team – and a company – that’s intentionally cultivated a culture of innovation. In doing so, they’re holding space for a diversity of opinions and ideas. Not only do I have a seat at the table, but my perspective is actively welcomed.
My viewpoint is uniquely mine. Since I’m younger, I have few preconceived ideas about how something should be. I don’t get hung up thinking, “This is how we did things at my last company, so let’s just apply that solution here.” While it can be great to draw from past experience, it’s just as valuable to tackle something with a fresh, unbiased perspective. This “blank slate” approach has really helped me be more innovative and creative.
I recently became a mom for the first time, and I’m already seeing how this experience is pushing me to be a better problem solver and be more present in the moment. I appreciate that Lucas Group supports my decision to work from home while my son is young, an innovative approach to supporting working mothers that not every company would take. For me, I find I’m approaching my work with even greater purpose. If I’m not with my son, I want to be doing something that excites me with a team I genuinely enjoy– a reality I’m lucky to live every day with Lucas Group.