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Resuscitating Innovation

Innovation is a word we loosely toss around the boardroom, causing it to diminish in meaning and weaken its punch. In its simplest form, it means change, alter, or transform. Yet, at its core, it is powerful, revolutionary, and life-altering. To innovate is to harness an indestructible power and deploy it in a manner that redefines everything we know to be true. It makes what was once impossible or never imagined a new reality. Innovation brings to life what we only dreamed of or dared not to crave out of fear it would never come true or because the permission was never granted to think at such scales.

This word can no longer afford a roll off our tongues. It deserves our thoughtfulness and intentionality. We must use it with purpose and care and apply it only in the moments that beckons its touch. Please note that these times extend beyond business. Innovation can no longer belong to the creatives and strategists alone. Each of us has a measure of innovative brilliance to execute and utilize in our sphere of influence.

For example, the last few years exposed our narrow view and scope, plaguing the "classroom." There is only one way to teach students, and we have to reach one to teach one. However, we pigeonhole the concept of reach, and when the world forced us to close the gap between teacher and student differently, learning fell apart. We spent our time arguing over in-person versus virtual when the hour was challenging us to focus our hearts and attention on innovation.

How can we reach one to teach one when distance is required? How can learning continue against the grain of no physical accessibility? It was our moment. It was our time to alter and revolutionize. Did we miss it?

Here we are amidst #WomensHistroyMonth, recognizing the impactful contribution women have and continue to make in society. The message of awareness and change continues to accompany the celebration announcement. It must only do so because the barriers for women persist.

Year after year, this month arrives having to address the same limitations, glass ceilings, and way overdue recognition.

This truth does not apply to women alone. African-American, Breast Cancer Awareness, and Earth months are all examples (and only a few) of carved-out time we take to reiterate needs still unfulfilled. The same challenges, just a different day. Time has moved us into the 21st century, and we are determined to stick with our 1800s way of life. Why? Are we afraid of what's different? Do we fear change? Maybe we are comfortable and complacent, feeling there is no need to transform the life that we know.

Whatever it is, let's begin to expand our minds and bring innovation into every area and realm of our world. In honor of Women's History Month and our nonprofit sector, we spotlight the Women for Women International (WfWI) organization, supporting marginalized women in countries affected by conflict and war. Since 1993, WfWI has used its innovative force to equip over 400,000 women worldwide with life, business, and vocational skills.

The results. Life is rewritten for these lowly and poverty-stricken women who are now empowered to earn income, improve their health and well-being, and learn about and execute their legal rights. These women now hold the permission slip in hand to dream beyond their wildest. They now possess the power to create a difference in their lives and the lives of others.

Twenty-three-year-old Zainab Salbi, an Iraqi-American humanitarian and entrepreneur, saw what the rest of us couldn't see. Her vision, more extraordinary than us all, beheld a world barrierless and utterly free of limits holding women back from their greatest potential. More than $118 million in aid and loans were provided to women in eight conflict locations under Salbi's leadership. She didn't argue whether it could be done. She just did it.

One of the most fulfilling parts of our job as marketers is to take our clients to places, entering spaces they never knew they could go. There is nothing like it. To see their mission and goals go from concept to reality is what we live for. The feeling is indescribable as words do not capture the sentiment. All we know is you want to soar like this. Don't leave innovation only to us. You, too, can change the world one innovative step at a time.


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