We have been talking a great deal lately on our blog about the topic of innovation…what it means, how you go about innovation and what it takes to truly become a world class innovator.
Today, I want to share with you five strategies I have used with companies to not only help move along the innovation cycle but methods you can use every day to help your team if they are stuck.
So, here we o:
1. ALL IDEAS ARE GOOD IDEAS…NO MATTER HOW BIZARRE THEY SEEM. Many companies are so traditional that the thought of a “way out there on the fringe” idea is just not a viable option. The reality is that those ideas that people think would NEVER stick did stick. Just look at how Duct Tape went to a multi-million dollar product, because people found some of the best AND most odd ways to use the material. People just thought it would be ordinary tape, but people all over the world have shared stories about how they have used duct tape…from making a couch, to sealing off the entire back windows of cars to making a prom dress like the one you see to the side. Make sure to go out to Google and type in “odd uses for duct tape”. You will even find pictures of people who have used duct tapes for wounds and to cover up body parts that have cracks in them.
2. PLAY: As “grown ups”, we have adopted some odd belief that when we turn 21 (or younger), we suddenly have to become super serious and work our fingers to the bone…no time for PLAY. My perspective is this: Play is a very productive use of time. When you move into play mode, your team will loosen up, and a part of their brain that stimulates creative juices is forced into sleep mode for most of the day. Open up your team by becoming curious, playing games (Where is Waldo or Pictionary are both great, or you can even play a child’s game like Hide and Seek to see who can find the most creative place to “hide”…if you think this sounds silly, just try it and watch as camaraderie and energy build!).
3. SPICE THINGS UP! Have you really looked at your ideas to see how you can spice them up a bit? You may have had a great idea one year ago, and it has become stale and without flavor. Take an old idea and do something quirky, radical or offbeat with it through the marketing or business building perspective. If you want to know how to go about this, just watch the Will It Blend guy as he literally blends an iPad in his blender:
While I don’t recommend buying a $600.00 tool just to show how powerful your blender (or other tool) is at turning a hard metal object into smoke and ash, this guy has gone so radical that it makes buying a blender fun and exciting…and definitely a conversation topic. And…I just have to point out that the “Will It Blend” guy has stayed relevant by continuing to pulverize the most current technology gadgets on the market.
4. MIX IT UP! Have you ever thought about taking 3 or 4 of your ideas and distilling them down into one bigger idea? If you have not tried this, give it a try. If you are in business, and you have 3 or 4 products or services, they all do have something in common…you and your business. So, chances are pretty good that those 3 or 4 products could come together to develop a 5th idea (the concept of the 5th mind of masterminding is the underlying concept).
5. CUT, DICE AND SLICE: You may have a very big product, service or idea that could be cut into smaller parts and sold a-la-cart. People may be buying a product or service for one reason only and not using about 75% of the product or service they invented. This is where Steve Jobs was brilliant. He knew that many people who bought an entire album or CD were buying it to only get access to one song. So, why not just sell songs a-la-carte? Looks like it worked very, very well for Apple, and it can for you as well.
If you are someone who is looking to move into a cycle of innovation, contact me about setting up a day of brainstorming. I will bring my box of tools, and we will have a blast