Is your Aha Moment the Next Breakthrough in Innovation?

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We all have Aha! moments and for my whole working career I have focused on helping others to achieve an “Aha!” moment through learning and development. It’s only recently however that I discovered that so many others have been pursuing the perfect “Aha!” too.

Oprah, Eckhart Tolle, Forbes Magazine, Inc. to name a few, are all talking about the Aha moment! There are facebook pages dedicated to the Aha moment too. Clearly, I am in good company.

It’s wonderful to see that it’s usually the humble ‘Aha!’ that can turn a business around, have a look at some of these incredible aha moments from famous founders.

Aha! Moments in Learning @ Work

At the end of every facilitated session and training workshop at What’s Your Edge? we ask all our participants to share their Aha! Moments from the session. This isn’t something new but we take it one step further.  We want every participant to get their edge so we ask them to write down their ‘Actionable Aha! Moments’. It’s in these small actions that the day to day activities become easier and ultimately better.  There’s no use having an aha moment and then not acting on it.

Could one of your Aha! moments be the next disruptor, the next big thing in innovation in your company?  All entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs (people with the entrepreneurial spirit working within organisations) have 3 things in common, they maximise their Aha! moments.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re in a 2-day workshop, one-off seminar, reading an article, listening to podcast, watching a 30-second vlog or doing your job, we know you have aha moments, here are 3 ways to maximise them.

3 Ways to Maximise Your Next Aha!

1: Seek the Aha! Moments

So what’s an Actionable Aha moment? It’s the second you hear something or think something that resonates with you in such a way that you know you have to do something about it immediately. It could be that you have just learnt something new or that you should do something differently, that you are reminded of something, or that you have confirmed what you’re doing is, in fact, great and you’re on the right track.

You might also know it as a lightbulb moment. That moment of sudden insight or discovery or when the solution to a problem becomes clear. The thing is aha moments do not have to come with a lightning bolt. They can happen anywhere, everywhere and frequently, if you’re open to them. But they can be life-changing.

I had a wonderful Aha! moment looking out of a plane window, searching for my house. It was about making learning stick and how we’re not always ready to hear what we need to hear, see what we’d like to see, or absorb what is being taught, but if we can recognise it for the opportunity it is, focus and be ready we might end up with an ‘Aha’ moment.

We have the opportunity to be more knowledgeable at almost any given moment. Aha moments don’t have to be big (but it’s great when they are!) and they don’t have to always be from a positive experience, it might be learning what not to do.

So what do you have to do to have an Aha! moment?

Listen: Listen to others, people have so much knowledge to share from their experiences.

Listen to yourself, take the time to let your learning sink in, listen to your intuition. It’s often in the quiet times or times that you least expect, that aha’s come to you, just like my plane experience.

Ask: Ask questions. If you are curious, the world of aha’s will open up to you

Share: Share with others what is happening in your world and you will be surprised how the aha’s appear in your generosity

Get proactive about your aha moments. They are waiting for you.

2: Learn from Others

Here’s another Aha! moment that I got from having a conversation about my daughter’s new teacher. It was a beautiful example of the power of The Protege Effect. If you aren’t aware of The Protege Effect, here’s a quick rundown:

For centuries we have known that if you want to perform better, then teach others.  Research has found that students who teach are also more motivated to learn.

If you work in a team here’s a way to make use of The Protege Effect: Say you have been doing a course to better your general communication skills, something that everyone could benefit from. Identify someone in your ‘team’ you’d like to share your learning with and then teach that someone what you have learned. Then ask that person to implement the new skill or approach with you, at the same time.

Because if you are both learning at the same time it helps to embed the skills. Perhaps this person can be your accountability buddy, your coach, your friend, or even your student. What better way to give something new that you’ve learned a go, than with a friend or your team. You could even tell a customer you’re going to be trying something new. Maybe they could learn something too and have their own aha moment.

Build on Your Aha!

Innovation and the next big idea doesn’t come from one Aha moment. It takes time, trials, failure and collaboration. You may not be seeking the next big idea out of your latest aha moment but sharing it and getting feedback on it creates the opportunity to make it even better – maybe lightening bolt better.

Share your aha and try it out on others to see what they can contribute to make it better. If you are working as part of a team, make use of the invaluable team intelligence at hand. Your aha moment could be the next disruptor or innovative process in your company.


Sharing and building upon whatever you learn will not only help you to make your learning stick and build your professional knowledge, it can help others. It creates an environment of progressive development, design thinking and team Intelligence.

What is something interesting you’ve recently read or heard that inspired you into action? Who can you share it with today? Please share your Aha! Moments with us.