What stimulates us to innovate? It must be something important because innovation often takes a lot of work in the face of day-to-day pressures, risks and uncertainty. From our research and years of experience, we’ve seen firsthand that innovation is energized, motivated, and guided by our values – consciously or unconsciously.
The word value comes from the Latin verb valere, which means to be worth and to be strong. Values are feelings and convictions about what is of strong worth to us in what we think, say and do. Values shape what is meaningful and motivating for us.
Values have long been under-appreciated as a driver of what we innovate, why we innovate and how we innovate. People who are aware of their own values will naturally strive to find a way to express them through their work. Values raise the level of personal investment, dedication and commitment it takes to innovate. Thus “values” are the “raison d’être,” the “reason for being,” of innovation.
When innovation is values centered at all levels — individual, team and organization — we are conscious of creating what is truly important to us and beneficial to others. And since innovation is more than just dreaming up a creative idea, and sometimes we have to work hard to actualize that idea, values are what motivate us to complete the full process, from start to finish. In addition, our choice of values influence whether the innovations we produce turn out to be either healthy, unhealthy, or both for our society and the environment.