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In a competitive industry like advertising, we understand the importance of constant innovation. The digital landscape is a world of perpetual motion that’s ripe for disruption at every turn. And you have two choices: You can lead the way, or you can follow the leader.

But regardless of what industry you’re in — be it homebuilding, marketing or something else entirely — just deciding you want to be a leader is only a small part of the battle. Completely redefining the way you approach your challenges in life or business is the hardest part.

The good news is that an innovative spirit, in our opinion, is about perspective rather than some inherent trait granted only to the chosen few. More specifically, uncovering that spirit in all of us is about being able to understand the differences between simply adapting to the world around you and having a desire to shape it yourself.

Built to Adapt

Whether you’re consciously aware of it or not, you’re programmed to adapt to your ever-changing reality. You’re built to learn and respond to feelings of pain, happiness, excitement, fear, etc. In that sense, adaptation is no more than a survival mechanism — albeit, an important one.

In business or in our professional lives, our instinctual response when we see the latest trends or upcoming challenges is to adapt and change. It’s an essential part of competition, and for those who can do it quickly, the results are far better than those who cannot. But is agility and adaptability a reflection of a business’ innovative spirit? Perhaps not.

Wired to Innovate

So what, then, separates someone who has a proven track record of being able to adapt to a constantly changing world from those who truly innovate? Is it simply being willing to try new things or is it something bigger than that?

Here’s how we see it: Adaptation is about keeping up with the world around you to ensure you don’t fall behind everyone else. Innovation, on the other hand, is defined by an irresistible desire to shape the world around you because you’re driven to stay ahead.

It’s no surprise that these two concepts get conflated so often, but we’re not claiming that they’re so distinct that they’re incompatible ideologies altogether. Understanding the need for adaptation and innovation is to understand the reality that the only constant in the world is change. But the difference lies in the idea that adaptation is reactive while innovation is proactive.

Innovation in Practice

To outsiders, NDG might just be an ad agency. A closer look inside will show you that we’re so much more than that. We’re artists, industry experts, strategists, project managers, accountants and programmers. But what connects us all the most is the fact that innovation awaits around every corner. The status quo is never sacred, and no one here is bound by their title.

To us, an innovative spirit is not just one of those “nice to have” characteristics we look for — it’s a necessity. It’s not just because we believe that’s the only way for us to stay ahead in a competitive industry like advertising, but it’s also an integral part of our relationships with our clients, and we strive to carry that over into as much of their businesses as possible.

If you’ve ever had the desire to be a leader in your industry or your field, innovation is the only way to make it happen. What do you differently? How are you defining “what’s next?”

These questions aren’t supposed to be easy to answer. By its very definition, innovation is the exception to the rule, but that doesn’t mean that it’s unattainable by any means.

A culture or mindset of innovation takes courage, sure, but it’s one we hope you’ll ultimately embrace for yourself and for the good of everyone around you. You might surprise yourself with just how many groundbreaking ideas you have. And who knows? You might just change everyone else’s perspective about what an advertiser, marketer, homebuilder, or whatever you are, should be along the way.

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