In 2007, at the D5 Conference, Steve Jobs sat with Bill Gates and talked about the importance of passion

when it comes to innovation. While I agree with Steve, I think he was missing a very important piece that is an absolute necessity for igniting passion, and I didn’t quite understand what that missing piece was until last year.
My team and I talk a lot about Simon Sinek’s idea of “Why”. In his book, Start with Why, he pushes readers to discover their purpose, cause, or belief that inspires them to do what they do.

Mr. Sinek then goes on to say something, which at its core, is so fundamentally important when it comes to innovation that it’s worth sharing.

“Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them. People are either motivated or they are not. Unless you give motivated people something to believe in, something bigger than their job to work toward, they will motivate themselves to find a new job and you’ll be stuck with whoever’s left.”

The reason this is relevant in the world of innovation is because teams that don’t understand and internalize the “why” behind their need to innovate will merely be adding yet another task into their work week without understanding the full impact the innovation will have on them, their customer and the company.

A clear “why” unlocks passion in a team. And passion is the catalyst for innovation.

In order for innovation to exist, we need passion – which is a combination of curiosity, imagination, and persistence – to inspire people to look beyond the status quo and look at the world through a different lens to find solutions to big problems. It leads to new products, services, and systems that bring new life to organizations.

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