Mythbusting - Innovation & Creativity
One of the most powerful words in our language is ‘new’ and advertising and marketing agencies know this only too well. That’s why we have stripes in our toothpaste and little red ‘power’ balls in our dishwasher tablets – they are versions of what we had before but because they are new they are ‘better’ too.
Innovation then is what sets successful companies apart from those who choose to standstill and leave their products or services unchanged year after year. Think of today’s most successful companies (not just the usual Apple and Google examples that get trotted out in discussions about innovation and creativity)…what about Tesla, Uber, Amazon, Netflix and so on. They have disrupted traditional markets with creative ideas that have turned into innovative products and services.
Myth #1: Innovation is spontaneous. No, hang on…innovation is a process. Forget ‘light bulb’ or ‘eureka’ moments…Edison, Jobs, Gates, Dyson and their like had many more failures than successes as they went through a process of creativity and innovation to deliver game-changing inventions. In fact, the thing that most innovators have in common is failure, sometimes thousands of failures…just see what James Dyson has to say on this subject! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5eIyRVpwmc
Myth #2: Not all of us are creative. Rubbish. Just getting through the day requires every single one of us to be creative even if it’s only because we haven’t got all the right ingredients for dinner or the road ahead has been closed. Innovation is a process and we can all learn, or be trained, to exploit our own creativity using a myriad of tools and techniques…and don’t just think ‘brainstorming’, which ironically is one of the least effective methods in shaping new ideas. Mind-mapping, nominal group-think, brainwriting, fishbone analysis as well as a range of problem solving tools are things we can easily utilise with our colleagues.
Check out http://www.maguiretraining.co.uk/personal-development/creative-thinking/ or our video http://www.maguiretraining.co.uk/e-learning/modules/creative-problem-solving/ for some more ideas.
Myth #3: Failure is bad. Nonsense. If you think about the process of innovation there are going to be lots of times when you fail and chances are that if you don’t the final output won’t be very robust anyway. What sets the good innovators apart is that they learn from every single failure and make the next version of their product or service better than the last until they get one that works and is fit for purpose. Think of failure as your friend, not your enemy.
Myth #4: Innovate or Die. Well, not quite…in fact we should be thinking carefully about developing an innovation strategy that works in the context of our own organisations market and needs. These are some simple questions to help start that process:
Every organisation has untapped creative capital that might just lead to the next big thing in your sector. Try and build an innovation strategy around a process and motivate everyone to get involved. Not only is it a fantastic way to build your organisations portfolio but it is also one of the best ways to forge a common sense of purpose and engage all employees.