“Let’s do this the hard way.” That’s not what we say when it comes to challenging conventions in our businesses and the marketplace, yet that is how we often do it. The hard way. Challenging the status quo can be done with more ease by starting with an underleveraged company asset – the values.

I got this idea from reading about one of my favorite coffee companies, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, and their CEO Patrick O’Dea, who applies this approach to innovation. From its inception, the company has been known to innovate, and its values have been a catalyst for innovations that have changed the coffee industry. One example is a direct store delivery and merchandising system that has resulted in delivering unprecedented product freshness to customers. By “looking through the lens of the values,” the company has also changed the lives of coffee farmers in Africa, impacting their livelihood while securing quality beans for Peet’s coffee.

If you look at your organization, your customers or the marketplace through the lens of the company values, you will see places that would benefit from innovative thinking – and your colleagues are more likely to appreciate how that innovation could make a difference for the business. Thinking from the values will make it clear how the new idea you are putting forth will serve the company. When you challenge a convention from the perspective of your company’s values, you are enabling the organization to be a part of the change rather than an obstacle to it.

What are some other benefits of challenging convention through your company’s values?