The Innovator’s Vitamin C is essential for any Innovator who is looking to create change and disrupt the status quo. Having ample stores of creativity, curiosity, and courage not only encourages innovation, but also buffers and boosts Innovators during difficult times.

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Ah, summertime. The season of sunny skies, warm temperatures, and for fellow ocean lovers, the regular pilgrimage to the coastline to fill up on much-needed Vitamin “Sea”.

Although mountain and countryside enthusiasts may not understand, plunging oneself into the cool saltwater is a literal refresh that provides invigoration and renewed energy. Experiencing the moon’s gravitational pull via the changing tides reminds us that there are unseen forces larger than us, which invites a valuable shift in perspective. Science has even shown that when humans look out at the ocean, this activates our “blue mind” and triggers a calming effect. Ask any ocean lover, and they will tell you how critical this Vitamin Sea is for their wellbeing.

Of course, Vitamin Sea is a play off of the term Vitamin “C,” which is an essential nutrient for human health. Without Vitamin C, our bodies weaken, our limbs degrade, and our smiles worsen. In extreme cases, a lack of Vitamin C can even become fatal (remember all those 18th century sailors who suffered from scurvy?).

But this is a blog about innovation, so let’s get to the point: Vitamin Sea is not the only metaphorical Vitamin C that’s out there… Have you heard of the Innovator’s Vitamin “C”?

The Innovator’s Vitamin C is comprised of three essential characteristics:

  1. Creativity
  2. Curiosity
  3. Courage

Creativity is our ability to produce or use original ideas[i].

Given that Team Toolkit’s straightforward definition of Innovation is “novelty with impact” and that “novelty” means something new or original, then the ability to create or use something original is a must for an Innovator. Creativity is a critical prerequisite for innovation. 

Curiosity is an eager wish to learn or know something[ii].

When we are eager to learn about the world around us, we start paying attention. This attention leads us to observations and problem-spotting. We’ll also start seeing opportunities for something new to be created or for something to be used in a different way. These scenarios are the gateways to innovation, and curiosity compels us to keep going, to keep digging deeper until the learner in us is satisfied.

Curiosity is also a powerful tool for shifting our mindsets. When situations do not go as we expect or our new effort fails, we can use curiosity to shift from a negative, blaming mindset into a more constructive, learner’s mindset. Rather than investigating “Who did wrong?” and fault-finding, curiosity prompts us to ask, “How might we have done this differently?” so that we can learn from our mistakes and improve for next time.

Courage is the ability to control your fear in a difficult situation[iii].

Bringing forth an innovation inherently requires change since it introduces novelty. However, humans are biologically predisposed to resist change which means that when we’re introducing our innovative idea or solution for the first time, our audience’s default mode isn’t exactly to embrace it.

This is where calling upon our courage becomes critical, and courage is what differentiates the innovators from the armchair dreamers. Innovators are aware of their fear, but they’re not halted by it. Instead, we tap into our courage to persevere and bring forth the change we want to see in the world.

Creativity, curiosity, and courage are a must for innovators.

Our bodies cannot naturally produce Vitamin C, so we must consume it via external means such as pineapples, oranges, and other citrus fruits. Similar to true Vitamin C, the Innovator’s Vitamin C may not be something we naturally produce or have abundant stores of.

Fortunately, there are many practices and exercises that can help us cultivate these characteristics of creativity, curiosity, and courage (stay tuned for more blog articles on this!). By creating a daily practice of “taking” our Innovator’s Vitamin C and regularly practicing these exercises, eventually these characteristics will become habitual and our default attitudes.

Creativity, curiosity, and courage are a must for innovators, so set yourself up for innovation success and take your daily Innovator’s Vitamin C!