Innovation requires clarity. As an innovation leader, you should always be seeking it. Recently at our Innovation eXcelerator Coaching Program, I worked with innovation leaders to build their innovation playbooks for 2021. As I reviewed each leader’s playbook, I noticed their playbooks were all missing one important ingredient: their “WHY”. I challenged them to envision what it would mean to them personally to execute on the projects in their playbooks. I asked them to create a “destination postcard” that represented what a successful year would look like for them.

Here are three steps I recommend for building your destination postcard for innovation in 2021:

  • Visualize your destination. Take a minute, close your eyes, and imagine it’s the end of 2021 and you’re on an amazing vacation. Maybe you went to Fiji, Capetown, or Hawaii. As you look out at the view from the balcony of the resort, you’re reflecting on 2021 and thinking about how great it was. Get a vision in your head for all that you accomplished as an innovation leader and why it mattered to you.
  • Write your postcard. On the table in front of you is a blank postcard with a beautiful picture of the destination you’re visiting. You start to think how nice it would be to write a quick note to your best friend about how great a year it was and what you were able to accomplish. You grab the postcard and start to write. In my case, I might write:

    Man, I had a great year. The new products I launched helped 5 team members get promoted to senior-level positions.
    — Clay

    What’s the one sentence you would write on your postcard to summarize what made 2021 great for you and the impact you had as an innovator?

  • Put yourself in the picture. Try not to focus too much on what others expect from you as an innovator. When you’re on vacation at the end of the year and you’re looking back on what you did, what will give you a feeling of accomplishment? What did it mean for you to reach the outcomes in your playbook? Innovation is not transactional. To keep it from being that way, remember why innovation matters to you.

Once you finish your postcard, I challenge you to share it with me. Once you accomplish your big innovation leadership goals, where will you travel at the end of 2021? What will you write on your postcard, and who will you send it to?

We have to inspire each other. Hearing other people’s goals helps me and inspires me to reach higher. Send your destination postcard to me at!

If you’re struggling to create your destination postcard because you haven’t nailed down your innovation playbook, then sign up to be in the next cohort of our Innovation eXcelerator Program. It’s an immersive 8-week innovation leadership coaching program that helps you build mindset, motivation, and strategies for mastering design thinking and delivering breakthrough innovation in your organization. Learn more about the program and apply.