Blogs by InnovatorsBox®

#INNOVSTORY 2017: THE LESSONS

Happy 2018, Innovators!

We couldn’t be more excited for this new year and the growth and lessons it will bring! We wrapped up 2017 with our #InnovStory campaign in celebration of InnovatorsBox’s two year anniversary. It was a great way to highlight the incredible stories of entrepreneurs and innovators. It was important for us to show that creativity and innovation happen across all industries – tech, education, non-profit, media, government, medicine, law, and more.

 

In listening to each Innovator’s story, we noticed common themes that we’d like to share with you today. We ask that you take these lessons with you as you take this New Year head on! Without further ado, here are the top lessons we’ve learned from the 2017 #InnovStory campaign.

1. Have a “Why” and Inspiration

“My Son Jameson Mosiah. He’s the truest form of love I’ve ever experienced and everyday he inspires me to be diligent to that love. To provide for and protect it with every ounce of my being."
— Cortni Grange
Executive Director, FLYE
“My dad is an inspiration—as I have been recently spending more time with him, I see how creative and dedicated he is and how he truly cheers for those around him.
— Neetal Parekh
Founder and CEO, Innov8social
“When I see people with less, doing more."
— Dr. Uchechi Wosu
Author, MD at Brighthope Home
“I truly enjoy the impact of my service to my clients as they take actions in their journey to achieve clarity. I know that as my clients become clear and empowered to embrace their calling, passion, and purpose, they are making a greater impact in world personally and professionally.
— Martina Coates Nance
CEO, Your Clarity, and Transformation Coach
“I truly enjoy the impact of my service to my clients as they take actions in their journey to achieve clarity. I know that as my clients become clear and empowered to embrace their calling, passion, and purpose, they are making a greater impact in world personally and professionally.
— Martina Coates Nance
CEO, Your Clarity, and Transformation Coach
“People who understand that success is defined on a personal level and they steadfastly maintain their integrity while they push forward."
— Lois Gamerman
President & CEO, Soft Stuff Distributors

2. Expect Failure

“You can plan out every step of your career if you want to, but very often things may not go according to plan. I have found that those moments in my own career - unexpected shifts, uncertainty - have been both the most difficult and the most rewarding. They force the most introspection and personal growth.
— Uzra Khan
“Nothing goes as planned, you can be scared of uncertainty or you can look forward to always being surprised."
— Gary Hirsch
Co-Founder, On Your Feet

3. Creativity is Crucial

“I watch a lot of movies—some good, some bad. We curate independent films and documentaries and shows from film festivals from across the globe. We release new content every week."
— DeShuna Moore Spencer
Founder & CEO, kweli TV
“I create solutions for my clients by listen to their concerns and find their point of ‘pain’. Whether it is an individual wellness lifestyle or Corporate Wellness strategies my clients come to me for a solution as a Coach and a Consultant to help them transition and move forward in a positive direction."
— June Webb
Founder & wellness coach, JWebb Living Mind-Body-Life
“Finding ways to bridge sectors, disciplines and seeking connections with innovators from diverse backgrounds to foster new collaboration, learning and insights.
— Craig Zelizer
CEO, PCDNetwork
“The systems that were built for us by previous generations may not work for us anymore. And that can be very scary to realize. Instead of being afraid, I lean into that unknown and am trying to create new systems.
— Kim Bryden
CEO, Cureate
“A great innovator is someone that doesn’t settle for ‘that’s just the way things are’ or ‘that’s how things have always been done here."
— David Roberts
Chief Innovation Officer, State of Indiana Economic Development Corporation
 

4. Routines Are Key

“When you are in the zone, keep going; early mornings are the best time to write; at least 3 cups of tea a day fuels innovation!"
— Blair Glencorse
Founder and Executive Director at Accountability Lab
“Make daily to-do lists on post-it notes. The small size of the post-it forces prioritizing."
— Co-founder and COO of MindRight
“I start each day by preparing a ‘to-do’ list. I review it throughout the day to determine which tasks should take priority and which tasks should take a back seat. I never start the day without reviewing my ‘to-do’ list."
— Jessica Childress
Chief Executive Dreamer, Juris P. Prudence
“I always strive to work fewer hours but make that time super productive. I know that devoting time to exercise, meditation, eating well and spending time with friends and family gives me the energy and inspiration I need to power through my work efficiently."
— Leigh George
CEO, Freedom
“Don’t multitask! Focus on one activity at a time, with all your strength. Work through that to-do list methodically, rather than jumping around."
— Lee Cohen
President, Local Story
 

5. Follow Your Truth

“Just do your thing! Stop worrying about what is ‘right’ or what people think, just go out there and do your thing because the world needs what you have to offer."
— Alexa Rose Carlin
Founder and CEO of Women Empower Expo
“Follow your passion and think outside the box, but identify your audience(s) early and craft a compelling story about your innovation to continuously refine and scale it."
— President of CommonPurpose Health
“I think everyone around us has stories and insight that help to shape who we are, how we think, and contribute to our work. Among my favorite quotes is the truth spoken by Mary Lou Kownacki, that ‘There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you’ve heard their story.’
— Brian LeDuc
Education Designer, Education Design Lab
“As a professional, never take anything for granted. As a person, never compromise with your inner compass on right and wrong."
— Anders Pettersson
Executive Director, ECPAT Sweden
“Everyone is faking it. Honor your own journey and where you are on that road. In tech, it’s SO easy to feel like you don’t know enough (you don’t, no one does), or there is something bigger/better you should be learning/doing."
— Jessica Bell, Developer
The Washington Post
“If you do not know who you are you cannot be a leader. Believe in yourself but constantly reflect and work on your strengths and weaknesses. Have an inner circle of people who you can trust and count on no matter what."
— Tania Fernandez
President & CEO, Midissa Therepeutics

…And Two Lessons Too Important to Leave Out!

“The best rule of developing relationships is to give more than you get."
— Phillip Jung
Venture Capitalist, Maryland Venture Fund
“Practice patience. Everyone talks about passion and purpose, but the most fulfilled innovators I know have replaced passion with patience, and hustle with humility."
— Adam Smiley Poswolsky
Millennial workplace expert, author of The Quarter-Life Breakthrough
 

Thank you, again, to all the Innovators who participated in this year’s campaign. We cannot wait until the next one!

About the Author

Picture of Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang, Founder, and CEO of InnovatorsBox® and Author of Rethink Creativity is transforming today’s workforce through the power of creativity. She helps companies rethink culture, leadership, and team development by making creativity practical and relatable regardless of industry or job title. She has worked with clients worldwide including Fortune 500 companies, higher education, government, and nonprofits. Monica’s work has been recognized by The White House, Ashoka Changemakers, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Prior to InnovatorsBox®, Monica was a nuclear nonproliferation policy expert. She holds an M.A. from SAIS Johns Hopkins University in Strategic Studies and International Economics and a B.A. from Boston University.

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