We read a lot about innovation in the current workplace. From AI to machine learning to aging workforces; right through to the disruption caused by having up to 5 generations in the current work environment. So disruption is rife, it is all around us, it isn’t going anywhere.
For this reason, it is now time to disrupt your career.
What is career innovation?
Career innovation occurs when you stop looking at your career in the traditional way and start to consider moving to a career more suited to your future self. This may include small steps, such as looking at the way you are developing the knowledge needed for your future. Or it may be a larger change (normally considered a disruption), such as looking at completely redefining your career, the way you work and the way you want to work.
When we look at what is driving disruption in the workforce, it is innovation. We cannot deny that there is a great deal of change to the way we work, are expected to work and access work. Innovation is occurring around us constantly, and the future world of work is going to require us to be constantly innovating the way we actually perform our roles. It is for this reason we also need to be looking at innovating the way we manage our careers.
Whatever the level of innovation that is right for you, without considering how you should be innovating your career, you may be at risk of being less relevant.
What are the steps to innovation?
The first step to doing this is most likely going to be the longest step. This is the stage where you need to take stock of where you are at in your career, the skills that you have developed, where these skills will take you and if this is where you want to go. There are a number of things to do here:
- Challenge yourself daily – Developing yourself each day is really important if you want to innovate. Set yourself a new challenge each day that can help you to develop new networks, new skills and a greater level of awareness around your abilities and capabilities.
- Think differently – Innovators don’t always recreate, they spend a lot of time simply reinventing. Don’t believe that your career has to go the same way as it has been, start to think differently about your career. What can you do to make your career more fulfilling? What can you try to change that might allow you to learn different skills, experience different working environments or understand different perspectives?
- Forget the career ladder – The changing world of work is doing a really good job eliminating the career ladder. This might mean that your expected next role becomes redundant before you even get to apply for it! For this reason, thinking differently about whether your career change is about climbing the career ladder or moving sideways could actually be a positive career move.
- Think broadly – Think about how you can bring in to your career all aspects of your life. We are not talking necessarily about finding your passion and turning this into a job. More specifically, it is about what are the enjoyable aspects of your life that you feel, if duplicated in your work environment, could make your career more fulfilling for you.
- Think experiences not just skills and job titles – Success comes differently to all of us, but just focusing on skills and job titles you will not be able to achieve a fulfilling career necessarily. Thinking broadly about the experiences that you have as you grow your career and what type of experience you can have to achieve success will greatly enhance your attitude to work, as well as your employability and levels of work satisfaction.
Innovation is not about disruption or recreation. It is about taking little steps to help you ensure that you are still managing your career, undertaking a career you enjoy, and developing the skills that will make you relevant for the future. Careers of the future will be less focused on the title that you held, and more on the broad capabilities that you bring and the interest that you have in what you are doing.
By consistently innovating your career you will not only be supporting your future but also enjoying what you do for your career.