Intern for Life: 5 ways an intern's mindset = an innovator's mindset
Now, you must think, why would I want to be an intern for life? And how is this related to innovation? Let us recall our first internship experience. What was different when we were an intern vs. now, working as a full-time employee? Was it that we were younger, or was it the eagerness to start a career? Is the excitement still there?
When I recall my first internship, it was filled with excitement and seemed like a promising start to a blooming career. But the most precious thing about being an intern is the mindset of approaching a job. And this has multiple things in common with an innovator mindset. Let's have a look at it:
1. OPEN TO CHANGE
Getting an internship is the first step of jumping into the unknown and breaking the comfort level. As interns, we are open to moving to new cities, leaving home, making new routines, basically, we are open to change. We know that this change will be good for us, and we should follow this more often.
To have an innovator's mindset, we need to embrace the notion that the world is constantly transforming, and this change challenges everybody. There is plenty of unknowns in innovation, and you need to have the right frame of mind to deal with all the uncertainty.
2. BE CURIOUS AND OBSERVE
Generally, in the first internship, we are fresh out of school and have very little knowledge about how the real world works. The curiosity levels are high, absorption power is tremendous, and we are eager to question everything. This constant desire to know more enables an intern to learn faster and better understand how the company works.
As an innovator, it is vital to be curious and observe everything around you. This helps you recognize the problem context and enables you to identify opportunities even when they might not seem obvious.
3. TAKE RISKS, BE CREATIVE, THINK, AND ACT QUICKLY
An internship is always time-constrained. We want to make ourselves seen and make an impact in a company in this short amount of time. Apart from just learning the ways of a company, an intern also tries to develop creative ways to solve a problem. The solution might not always be the best, but it takes courage and risk to take the initiative and make a meaningful contribution to an organization.
The ability to take risks, be creative, think and act quickly are key aspects needed to develop an innovator's mindset. In innovation, things move rather fast, and it is key to keep iterating quickly and fail even quicker.
4. GOOD TEAM PLAYER
As an intern, we are generally thrown into multiple teams to gain varied experiences. Since the collaborative attitude is still fresh out of school, it takes significantly less effort for interns to collaborate with a new team and be good team members. In innovation, the best solutions come from working together in a team and never alone. The diverse thoughts and perspectives and the ability to cross-question and discuss are essential to cover all grounds in an innovation project. Hence, it is vital to be a good team player and respect each member of the team.
5. THINK BIG
If we land an internship in a company that aligns with our interests and values, it is often our dream to work in the same organization and build a career there. We want to make an impact and do something meaningful for the company. Thinking big is often something natural for interns because they have their whole lives in front of them. This attitude to think big and be positive is required for any innovation project to be successful. After all, if you don't believe in the project, you might as well not even start.
Reflecting on my professional journey so far, from being an intern and now working for a company that propagates innovation, I couldn't help but draw parallels between these two. Work is always full of excitement, changes, and new developments. With our courses, we try to enable companies to join the innovation journey and empower their employees with the innovator's mindset. Developing an innovator's mindset might sometimes sound challenging and daunting, but if we just rewind and adapt the intern versions of ourselves in our everyday lives, half the battle is won, and we are on the right track to innovation!
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