Cooking up innovation - Part 1: A recipe for success

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Our abilities to transform as individuals and as a bank are crucial to our future success. So in this alphaBeta content series we are exploring what it takes to be continuously innovative - what are the qualities needed? Is it something you are born with or can an innovative mindset be nurtured?

The members of our transformation team come from backgrounds as diverse as the projects they work on - so we asked them to share some of their thoughts on innovation. Learn their top tips for creating innovative ideas - and stay tuned to alphaBeta to learn about the innate qualities of innovators.

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The recipe for innovation

Cooking up innovative ideas and nurturing our innovative mindset is similar to the transformation from cook to chef.

At the start, we need recipes. And success relies on following instructions to a tee. Later, we build the confidence to combine ideas from different sources, maybe even adding in ingredients or changing techniques.

Eventually we’ll barely need to search, we have the skills and knowledge in our brains, we know how to combine ingredients and have a repertoire of recipes so wide that we have all the ideas we need.

And how do we know that what we are making is good? We serve it to others - watching, listening, and learning what gets positive responses and how we can make it better.

Becoming an innovator follows a similar path - we start by gathering information from thought leaders and experts, followed by narrowing down ideas to key sources of trustworthy information. Then we can synthesize and build on the ideas of others, combining information from various sources and across fields of expertise.

Taking in all of our past experiences and finding connections that others haven’t even thought of, we are able to create ideas seemingly from scratch, but in fact they were inspired by the knowledge and history of those who came before.

So what is the recipe for innovation?

  1. Be comfortable being uncomfortable - admit you don’t know the answer and ask questions.

  2. Gather ideas from broad sources and follow the blueprint until you have the baseline and confidence to generate new ideas.

  3. Put your idea out there and then listen and learn from users or customers.

  4. Don’t take failure personally - learn something and take a different direction - or apply the learning to your next project.

The best chefs are true artists, taking inspiration from everything they’ve seen and tasted - combining ingredients and techniques from different cultures and schools of cooking. True innovation requires the same artistry. That’s what we’re cooking up every day here at ATB, if you’re interested in joining, make sure to check out our open positions.