I saw this article about being innovative. In it they list 10 ways to be innovative.
Not all of the original list of 10 apply but I’ll list the ones that do.
1. Do you see opportunities the competition doesn’t see?
Every cosmetic chemist in the industry is brought the latest raw materials to try out. You might get a head start if you’re at a big company but once Suppliers Day hits in May, everyone else knows the new stuff. How are your formulating ideas going to be different that other cosmetic chemists?
2. Do you have new ideas about where to look for new ideas?
Most people don’t even spend time coming up with new ideas. If you are not doing personal weekly brainstorming sessions, writing ideas down and finding new ones on the Internet (forums, blogs, etc) you are not keeping up.
3. Are you the most of anything?
This is a great question to ask yourself. Are you the best formulator in any area? Do you make the best skin creams or hair products? If not, who is better than you and how can you jump ahead?
4. If your company went out of business tomorrow, who would miss you and why?
This is a real possibility whenever you are not the owner. Is your company making much difference in the marketplace? Are you making much difference at your company? To have a satisfying career as a cosmetic chemist, you should be able to answer yes.
7. Do your people care more than the competition?
If you care about the products that you formulate, you’ll do a much better job of creating them. It’s easy to work on a formula just enough to get the job done. It takes special dedication to make a formula better.
8. Are you getting the best contributions from the most people?
Working alone does not always lead to the best products. Certainly, your initial ideas and prototypes should be done solo but once you get to the evaluation stage, you should bring in trusted advisers to help improve your formulas.
9. Are you consistent in your commitment to change?
Technology always changes and you should be willing to try new things. We frequently had compounders change the order of addition in formulas and they occasionally led to faster processes. (Sometimes they led to stability problems but that’s a different story). Be open to change or you’ll go the way of the dinosaurs.
10. Are you learning as fast as the world is changing?
Things are changing quickly in the world. Keep up on all the latest news as soon as it happens by becoming an internet savvy cosmetic chemist. If you don’t do it, the kid who’s in college right now will be running circles around you when she gets out.