1. Constantly connect the dots.
Great innovators have the habit of constantly contemplating and observing in order to connect seemingly unrelated issues and ideas. When you connect the dots, you gain new insight and see relationships that were invisible before.
2. Commit to asking questions.
Great innovators have the habit of curiosity. Constantly ask questions–even about things you think you know. By asking new questions you challenge the knowledge you already have and get new perspective. The hardest part of establishing this habit is not the search for answers, but in coming up with great questions that lead you to revealing answers.
3. Actively try new things.
Great innovators have the habit of actively trying out new ideas by creating prototypes and launching pilots. Think of Edison, who said, “I haven’t failed. I’ve simply found 10,000 ways that do not work.” The real voyage of innovation is not in seeking new horizons but seeing the horizon in a new light.
4. Find points of intersection with others.
Great innovators have the habit of finding and testing new ideas through a network of people and organizations. Innovation is something that happens when we intersect with others. For ideas to germinate and for innovation to happen, a diverse set of perspectives, thinkers, questioners, and doers is required.
5. Have a sense of purpose.
Great innovators have the habit of being powered by their passion and using it as a sense of purpose. Their purpose is to make an impact and a difference. So they are not satisfied with what is, and they don’t ask permission to change the status quo. They are driven by their sense of purpose.
6. Cross-pollinate ideas.
Great innovators have the habit of combining surprising things. Creativity happens when two things collide to create a whole new idea, and insight requires that we solve challenges with new perspective. That happens best when you work with those outside your industry or field.
7. Make innovation a daily routine.
Great innovators have the habit of learning and innovating. It’s not something they do by accident, but through a daily ritual of exploration and trying new things. If we want to become a master of anything, it takes discipline and commitment. Innovators make growth and learning part of their work, rather than rely on it to come to them.
The article originally appeared at Inc., Lolly Daskal