After such a crazy and unimaginable year, everyone is used to pivoting. The year of Covid was the year when plans fell through, new challenges emerged, and everyone needed to figure out how to cope with the sudden changes. 

It’s safe to say that we’re all innovators — if you made it through the storm to the other side, you were probably deploying all of your creativity and strategy to make ends meet and foster growth. 

What Does True Innovation Look Like in the Year Ahead? 

With all that has changed in the last year or so, what does it really mean to be innovative right now? Is it reinventing the wheel, or just getting by and keeping the ship afloat? Is innovation being profitable and happy, or is it staying in our comfort zones? 

Back when everything was “normal,” innovation was not that difficult to define. Anything that broke out of the norms and tried-and-true processes was innovative. Today, almost everything that we’re doing is breaking out of what used to be considered as tradition — be it business, social, or your home life. 

It’s All About Human-Ness

My take on innovation is that it’s all about humanness. We’re in the middle of a tech revolution. It’s plain to see that, nowadays, tech tools are almost more common than people-based services. In this atmosphere, if it can be digitized, it is. Automation, algorithms, and Artificial Intelligence are defining our world. 

These are big changes that go far beyond the “new normals” that were accelerated by the pandemic. Everything is evolving into the never-before-seen and first-ever. For me, innovation today is about going back to what’s really human because, as we know, anything innovated is just a tool to create something that we were doing before — to be better. But all of these “somethings” are for us as humans to use, enjoy, and make a better life. (Mic drop 🎤) 

Fostering More Human Connections  

After over a year of being apart and utterly reliant on technology, the need for human connection has never been more powerful. In a reality where almost everything is pushing for digitization, the ones that are going against the grain are the ones pushing for more human-ness. 

In the past, when everything was more focused on connection, the tech-forward systems were viewed as innovative. Now, the tables have turned and the digital trend is no longer the outlier. It’s the main grounds for both business and social interactions. Companies and individuals aren’t really innovating with their tech because it’s a mandatory aspect.

When tech has basically taken over the necessities, so many people are cutting back on human interaction. Instead of chatting with a team member, we now get bots. Instead of a real person picking up the phone, we get online portals. 

Now all of these things, again, are making us hopefully better, faster, stronger … but they should also give us the time to foster more personable relationships. Which, by nature, will give us even more time to make the personal relationships needed to continue to scale our businesses (and our innovations). 

Today’s Innovators are Obsessed with Providing a Human Experience 

So who’s really driving the impact that stands out today? It’s the people who fundamentally value human-ness. It’s the ones who know that you can have cutting-edge tech and still insist on human connection. 

Instead of viewing human-ness as a disposable aspect of business, today’s innovators see it as the most pivotal driver of their work. It’s work by people, for people, and with people — leveraging digital tools as a way to connect.