Last Saturday, I designed and organized a workshop at Eskişehir in an IEEE event. The workshop is about personal innovation.
The workshop took approximately 1.5 hours to execute. I designed the workshop from scratch using design thinking methodologies to understand personal innovation in depth. There were nearly 40 students whom attended this workshop. I am glad to have a chance to share with these motivated students to understand their journey of life.
Let's start by defining!
What is Personal Innovation?
Innovation is the process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value. Innovation depends on time, place and the situation and it is a catalyzer of the creative elements. That is why, if innovation is needed, necessary creative elements are brought together.
When you look at personal innovation, this definition turns into something that reaching your goals or your way of living by using the creative elements you have and you could learn and apply to your life. We take this topic to the workshop and applied design thinking to create a resolution and a result for the start point of personal innovation.
Let's define Design Thinking!
What is Design Thinking?
Design thinking is the process of creative problem solving that uses a customer centric approach. It is a concept that continually evolves. One of the advantages of design thinking is that it is nonlinear and every step could be done simultaneously, changed order etc.
Design thinking has 5 stages as you see above:
Empathy: This is the stage of empathizing with the problem that you want to solve and ask questions to yourself about the feelings you have for that problem such as, "How I feel about the problem?", "How do I talk to people about it? Which points am I focused on?" etc.
Define: Definition phase includes the definition the real problem or the issue based on the problem you try to solve and the results that you got from empathy.
Ideate: After definition, ideation starts and you create ideas for the problem you defined earlier. This phase has the ideas unlimited to express them in a way that everyone or only you write them down freely.
Prototype: If an idea or the solution is not prototyped or executed, then it does not mean anything. The main thing of this phase is to create a working prototype of your solution to test and revise according to the reactions and results you got.
Test: This phase includes feedbacks, questions, comments anything that will improve the prototype or the idea or the definition. From this phase, you could go any of the phases to advance the solution from starting anywhere needed.
You could also read more about design thinking from here:
The 6 elements
In the workshop, I have listed six key elements to reach personal innovation. Here they are!
1- Understanding ourselves and our journey
This starts with listening yourself and your thoughts. Without listening yourself, you will not understand or feel what you really want. When you understand your journey, your ultimate happiness points and improvement points to learn, the goal setting for your life will become easier. Learning journey will define the way of handling your life.
We should be open to ourselves and be honest to identify and express the missing parts that we are not comfortable with because every understanding starts with the acceptance that who we are.
2- Keeping track of the goals
The definition of goals is the hardest thing to do because setting lifelong dreams or goals is easy but to make them real, you need to classify your goal into meaningful measurable pieces with timeframes to reach that very first goal. In order to do that you need to identify and improve your goal, you need to define it SMART.
Specific: The goal you have should be clear and specific to help you to focus on.
Measurable: You need to define your goal to measure and track it quantitatively.
Achievable: The goal needs to be attainable and reachable to motivate yourself on that.
Relevant: The goal should be relevant to your dreams, hopes and other goals you have.
Time-bound: The goal should be time based to understand when you will reach.
3- Trial and Error - Resilience
We love to stay in our comfort zone and act as loss averse to reduce risk and feel safe. The main thing to understand yourself and learn about you is to try and fail. Without failing you will not be able to learn how to get up and fight for the next challenge!
Resilience is the power that you come back and get up from the failures you have in your life. This means embracing the flaws you have and get up motivated every morning to create better and better things with your life!
4- Questioning yourself
The most important thing to create value for your life and advance it to a next phase,is questioning yourself. You need to question yourself, revise your goals, adapt the changes and understand your flaws to push them to the edges. When you stop questioning, you will not have the option to understand yourself, process your goals and pursue your learning journey. You need to ask the questions:
"Do I really want this?"
"Where am I with my goals?"
"Do I believe the goals I have?"
"What am I doing really good?"
"What am I doing really bad?"
You always need to be honest with yourself and not to black out the points that hurt your feeling or make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
Most of the goals that could not be achieved are the result of lack of trust or excessive trust to ourselves. If you really apply 4 elements above, then you will know your weaknesses, strengths, the things that you want to do, basically yourself. That is why, when you are taking a step forward, you will know what you will see, and you will start to trust yourself.
This is a result of less unknown spot included in the step you want to make. Less unknown makes you comfortable. If there are too much unknowns, you will tend to fear and lose self-esteem. That is why you need to balance this unknownss and trust to make a step forward!
6 - Learning
Learning is the core element of the personal innovation because everything starts with learning. When you understand your journey of learning to get your best to learn the things you are willing to do.
You need to write and draw your journey of learning, materials you use to learn. After that, creating and designing the learning will give you the ability of understanding of your life.
We all look and feel the world from our own glasses but sometimes we need to check ourselves from outside and see how you are doing. You could check my earlier post on learning from here to read more.
All in all, to innovate and advance, you need to know, track, learn and act, and repeat it continuously to express the best in you to reach your goals!
We all have the ability to reach our goals no matter how if we have resilience and motivation!
Let's get up and bring our best to innovate ourselves and our life!