The Innovation KPI: When Did You Last Do Something for the First Time?

ideas Apr 18, 2024

Innovation isn’t just about great ideas; it's also about being open to new experiences and continuously challenging our comfort zones. As an innovator, one critical measure I use to maintain this openness is what I call the "New Experience KPI." This key performance indicator is straightforward but profoundly impactful. It revolves around the question: "When is the last time you did something for the first time?" The essence of this measure is to keep the interval between such first-time experiences as short as possible.

The Importance of Small Experiences

Innovation doesn't necessarily require monumental changes or grand discoveries. Often, it's the small shifts in our daily lives—trying a new food, picking up a different book, or altering our usual routines—that catalyze significant transformations in our thinking and our work. These activities make us more adaptable and creative. They're not just about novelty; they're about enhancing our mental flexibility and our capacity to see beyond the usual.

Old Patterns, New Insights

Recently, I was reminded of how quickly we can fall into patterns and how challenging they can be to break. On a short holiday in Spain, my wife and I rented what I assumed was a standard internal combustion engine (ICE) car for a road trip—a nod to my current driving habits in an electric vehicle (EV). However, the car was a mild hybrid, blending traditional ICE with a small electric motor.

Despite my familiarity with manual transmissions from the past, I found myself grappling with unexpected challenges. For instance, I repeatedly reached for the window wiper lever instead of the gear stick when switching from forward to reverse—a clear sign of how deeply ingrained my EV driving habits had become. Additionally, the hybrid's smooth assistance from the electric motor meant less frequent gear shifting, subtly encouraging my EV-driving behaviors like forgetting to disengage the clutch when stopping.

Breaking Old Patterns

This experience was an eye-opener, emphasizing how quickly and subconsciously we can adopt and lock into new patterns. It also highlighted the need for continual adaptation, not just in technology but in our everyday habits and behaviors.

To encourage this mindset of constant innovation and pattern-breaking, I've decided to start a new initiative. Every Friday, I'll share a unique "FridayFind" on my social media platforms—unexpected treasures and insights I've gathered from my hobby of streetcombing. This practice not only fuels my creativity but also serves as a weekly reset from the regular rhythms of life.

Embrace the New

So, I encourage you to keep asking yourself: "When did I last do something for the first time?" Use it as a barometer for your openness to new experiences. Check out my social media profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram to discover my FRIDAY FINDS.

Let's keep our minds open and our patterns flexible, ready to embrace all the opportunities that life throws at us!


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