2017 Reflecting on the year that was

Tarryn LewisTips

Peter Drucker once advised, “Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”

While this seems simple enough, it is often challenging to make time for quiet reflection moments as innovation, by its nature, is typically fast-paced, with many projects running at once, where effectiveness is often judged by being forward-looking, swiftly processing new information, reacting, iterating and proceeding with speed by taking fast (evidence-based) decisions.

Somewhere in the information overload and constant alignment, we frequently tend to overlook the final and arguably the most crucial step – reflection.

So, as we near the end of 2017, let’s take a moment to pause and reflect on the year that was by asking these simple questions to prompt reflective thought about your innovation initiatives/ efforts.

  1. TOP: What went well? Single out the initiatives that had the greatest impact? Why was this?
  2. TIP: What was difficult or unexpected? What were the key pain points that you experienced with regards to your innovation efforts? What tips do you have to improve on / avoid this in 2018?
  3. What did you learn? And how will you share this learning with others? What are the questions you want to be answered in 2018?

By quickly sketching it out on a timeline, this basic reflection exercise directs your attention to key moments and aids in processing the learnings that will serve as a proactive starting point to contextualize your next steps.

By frequently making time for these reflective moments, you pave the way for using your key learnings to improve your overall innovation strategy.

If you’re seeking to make reflections a habit, try an approach similar to that of Jeff Weiner, CEO at LinkedIn, who once noted that he blocks between 90 minutes and two hours every day for reflection, and adds that if you don’t take the time to think proactively you will increasingly find yourself reacting to your environment rather than influencing it.