These 25 articles will make you an unstoppable innovator

 In Innovation

In the last two years we’ve published over a hundred articles on this site. We covered various subjects on the topics of Business Creativity and Innovation. I’m going out on a limb here and guess that you have not read all of them… Don’t worry, I’m not disappointed. I understand you are busy. In fact, let’s save you some searching. Here are 25 articles (in logical order) that will turn you into an unstoppable innovator.

Let’s start with two articles that will get you in the right MINDSET.

1. Break the rules
While written and unwritten rules are useful in everyday life, they can be serious limitations when trying to solve a tricky situation. Imagine there are no rules and let the sky be the limit.

2. Do you suffer from the Pike Syndrome?
Be wary of old habits and common sense. Every once in a while, ask yourself: “Why do I always do it this way?” and “Are the reasons why I started doing this still valid?”

Keeping the previous two articles in mind, you are ready to face some of your toughest challenges. With a bit of guidance from the articles below you’ll use your creativity to come up with ingenious approaches and find solutions that will make your colleagues’ heads spin.

However, before you start looking for creative ideas you need a QUESTION.

3. Ask the right question
The questions you ask determine what answers you will come up with. So if you want the best ideas, take some time formulating the right question. You might need to analyse your problem first, to find the root cause of your trouble.

4. 5 steps towards a clear focus
Once you’ve formulated your question, it’s time to sharpen it. We’ve created a five step check-list for you.

Now that you have a clear focus-question, you’re ready for IDEA GENERATION.

5. The importance of the Braindump
Whatever your thinking session is about, make sure you start with a ‘Braindump’. Collect the (obvious) ideas that are already in people’s minds and make room for truly creative thoughts.

6. Quantity leads to quality
During the ideation session you shouldn’t be easily satisfied. No matter how good an idea seems, always look for alternatives. The more ideas you generate, the bigger the chances are that you will stumble upon a brilliant idea.

7. Dare to ignore the early critic
Another important rule to keep in mind when looking for creative ideas: suspend your judgement. There certainly is a place for criticism in the innovation process, but not in this phase.

8. 15 Ingredients for successful brainstorming
Going for quantity and suspending judgement are just two ingredients for a successful idea session. Here are 13 more…

To get the most creative ideas, use THINKING TECHNIQUES.

9. Make it Worse
Believe it or not, sometimes thinking of ways to make your situation even worse is the key to finding brilliant solutions.

10. Biomimicry: using nature as a tool for innovation
Sometimes you don’t have to come up with the brilliant solutions yourself. It some instances it’s enough to ask yourself: ‘How does nature solve this problem?’

11. Be lazy
Hard work is admirable and usually pays off. However, when you face a tough challenge, a little bit of laziness can be very useful. Shrink your problem and create manageable mini-challenges.

12. Wishful Thinking
Odd ideas often lead to brilliant solutions. Use Wishful Thinking to force yourself to start with a completely unrealistic idea. It will lead to more useful approaches than you might think.

An abundance of ideas is great, but you can’t implement them all. In the EVALUATION phase you analyse the ideas and select the very best.

13. How to judge your ideas objectively
Judging ideas can be hard. It’s easy to fall in love with an idea, and it’s incredibly difficult to kill one of your darlings when the time is right. Luckily there is an easy tool to help you separate the keepers from the goners.

14. How To Pick The Best Ideas After A Brainstorm
Any proper ideation session leads to many good ideas. Unfortunately you can’t implement them all at the same time. Use the ‘Brainstorming Evaluation Matrix’ and select the ideas that should be implemented first.

Before you set everything in motion to make your idea happen, it’s wise to first TEST it. Check your assumptions and collect feedback to improve your idea one last time.

15. “It’s Alive!!!”
Quickly make a prototype and try out your idea in the world. Challenge yourself to find answers to questions such as; Does it work in practice? Does it solve my problem? Do people get it? Do users know how to interact with it? Is it efficient? etc.

Even a brilliant idea doesn’t guarantee innovation. There are many pitfalls preventing successful IMPLEMENTATION.

16. The best idea is everyone’s idea!
It doesn’t matter how good an idea is, if people are not enthusiastic about implementing it failure is imminent. Great ideas quickly die when top- middle- or lower level employees are not seeing the benefits. Involve every stakeholder if you want to avoid this.

17. The problem with isolated innovation departments
If you understand how important it is to have a broad support base for an idea, you’ll see the problem with isolated innovation departments. It’s foolish to expect employees to embrace new products and services when they had nothing to do with the creation of these new concepts.

18. Vision, focus & baby steps
Innovation (implementing an idea successfully) is dependent on three essential elements: vision, focus and… baby steps.

All these insights will not help you if you let the wrong beliefs influence your decisions. So let’s eliminate some common MYTHS ABOUT CREATIVITY & INNOVATION.

19. Solutions-focused thinking
It’s a misconception that you need to know everything there is to know about a problem if you want to solve it. While analysing your problem might provide you with useful insights, focussing on the solution can be even more effective.

20. Why sleep deprivation is (not) the key to creativity
Quite some people believe that being sleep deprived (or drunk) makes you more creative. Although they are on to something, such methods are not advisable if you are looking for the best and most creative ideas.

21. Does a time limit make you more creative?
Many people believe that time limits kill creativity. They are only half right. In fact, time limits can prevent over-thinking and tend to lead to MORE ideas!

22. Celebrate failures
Not every new idea will work in practise. But the notion that failed ideas equal a waste of time is wrong. Errors are a good thing and making mistakes will stimulate innovation.

23. 5 reasons to share your ideas
Many people believe that sharing your brilliant ideas is the worst thing you can do. They believe it’s foolish not to keep your idea secret, because others might steal it. They are wrong. While it certainly is scary to let others in on your brilliant plan, it is a smart thing to do.

24. Low risk innovation
The thing that scares many managers away from innovation is the idea that it has to be disruptive. The truth is; innovation doesn’t have to be radical. In fact, even conservative, risk-averse organisations can be innovative.

STILL CURIOUS?

25. 10 must-read books on creativity
Can’t get enough of reading about creativity and innovation? Well, here are 10 must-read books on the topic.

You can also join one of our workshops on Business Creativity. There are still some places left for the workshop on the 16th of February. (9am till 1pm, Gustoweg 45H Rotterdam)

 

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