It’s a new year. What’s new for you?

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Catalyst Issue 54

Okay, January is done already, and a review of the year’s intentions finds me wanting. Grand plans for new results are already slipping as the pressure of daily life builds up.

But, luckily, just before I beat myself to a pulp over this, I read the book Originals by Adam Grant, in which he poses the argument that ”procrastination serves to provide a platform for creativity”. He gives some great illustrating examples, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic painting ‘Mona Lisa’ that took 21 years to complete, and Martin Luther King’s shape-shifting “I have a dream” speech was a last-minute, on-the-spot addition to his bold narrative.

Grant goes on to say that tasks which are done immediately, under pressure and ‘to the rule’ result in in-the-box thinking, and those that are completed with less haste result in creative, innovative flair.

This is food for thought in a world where innovation seems increasingly held as the holy grail of success. Which makes one ponder if this implies that in future successful businesses will be those infused with the ongoing chaos of last-minute-itis? I don’t think so. I hope not!

Innovation is a deliberate culture and a measured intention. It requires the permission to try (and to fail) with the breathing space for teams to think in fresh and creative ways. But this needs to be coupled to structure and systems if ideas are to be turned into tangible results.

As the wise man says “no one ever got rich from a good idea – it’s the implementation of it that counts”, the answer is to place a value on fresh thinking and innovation by rewarding it, and couple creative teams to strong commercial minds in order to make the right things happen.

In this issue, we look at innovation in its various forms and we start with a small business, Water Chemicals & Technology, who is dedicated to protecting our most valuable resource.

We look at successful businesses that started with nothing but gave themselves some time to grow. 2019 is well on its way and it’s time we all get stuck into our budgeting plan – both personal and business.