Everyone can be an innovator, according to Robert B. Tucker, author of Innovation is Everybody’s Business, How to Make Yourself Indispensable in Today’s Hypercompetitive World. (196 pages, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)

Tucker summarizes ways to be more innovative and how to develop an innovative mind-set. Although the book is aimed more toward employees at larger companies, many of Tucker’s ideas can apply to a medium- and even a small-sized company. All organizations need new ideas. Even a one-man shop needs innovation. Tucker was also a speaker at this year’s Stiles Machinery Inc. Executive Briefing Conference.

Tucker shows how to determine your own Innovation Quotient, including how co-workers may perceive your innovative prowess.

A key point is to make innovation an integral part of your job – not a separate activity. It’s not something you do after your work is done. Other points: Innovation is about more than developing new products; it’s finding how to add value where you are. Also, you can innovate in any job, any department. And it’s important to remember that innovation is about taking action.

Tucker defines what he calls I-Skills, including embracing the opportunity mindset, questioning currently held assumptions, and cultivating a passion for the end customer.

Throughout the book, Taylor offers specific action recommendations, and examples that he has drawn from personal experience.

Tucker also advises innovators to question the value of experience, and to develop a mindset that questions both the current system and your original way of thinking.

Innovators are advised to focus on their internal and external customers by developing empathy for the customers and taking on the customer’s problem.

Part of being an effective innovator is thinking ahead of the curve, and Tucker advises innovators to audit their information diet, develop their own point of view on important issues, build an information and support network, and seek out other forward-thinking and idea-oriented people.

To develop one’s own ideas, Tucker suggests identifying where you do your best thinking (it may not be the office) and using your own innovation style to your advantage. Especially important is taking advantage of time off and making the most of it.

Also, becoming a great collaborator is a way to get your thoughts and ideas heard. Tucker discussed how to be invited to participate in special projects, how to identify good and bad collaborations, and how, and whom, to select for your own team.

Finally, how to get buy-in from others for your own and other good ideas is a critical part of the innovation process.

Innovation doesn’t happen by accident, but Tucker shows how you can encourage it, and become an innovator yourself.

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