Everyone who spends time with me, will know, I am obsessed with ideas. From exploring, hatching, developing and implementing them.
There is nothing that gets me more fired up, than solving a problem and making an impact with good ideas.
Many people ask me how I come up with these ideas and what inspires me?
It is really a combination of many things, but here are the essential habits every innovation specialist should apply:
Let Knowledge be your superpower
“I’ve never allowed my schooling to get in the way of my education” Mark Twain
Recently I did a talk at the RebaOne Academy Graduation for the youth who successfully completed the Entrepreneurship Programme and this was the advice I gave them.
So many times, we feel so accomplished because we completed our studies or went on a course, and you should. It’s what happens afterwards, that really makes the impact.
Are you applying what you learned and putting it into good practice? More importantly, are you extending your knowledge beyond your education?
If we neglect to learn more, our own frame of reference becomes limited.
It is like a Chef. They would need to taste so many different foods and a combination of textures and ingredients to develop their pallets to create more innovative dishes beyond a recipe book.
My point being, just because you finished school, does not mean your curiosity and education should stop there, because the more you explore the better you become. Many successful entrepreneurs read an average of 5 books a month. Elon Musk read an average of two books a day. Leaders are readers. They also attend conferences, courses, network events and are hungry to learn, so that they can process that information to apply in their own environments.
Fuel your Creativity to Inspire Innovation
“Old Things in a new way, or New Things in an old way. Otherwise it’s just an observation” Mark Hancock
I had the privilege to meet Mark Hancock at a conference we spoke at in Indonesia. He truly fascinated me with his approach to problem solving. One thing he spoke about, was that nothing is original. Every idea that sparks in our mind, is a combination of the old and the new. There is somewhere in your mind, a frame of reference that inspired that idea.
Ecclesiastes 1: 9 says it best: “What has been, will be again. What has been done will be done again. There is nothing new under the sun”
There is a word for it. Adjacent Innovation. That is when you extend the characteristics of an existing idea and create something new and different from it. Think about glass, and how spectacles inspired the microscope and telescope, simply by experimenting with the lenses. We discovered there is a whole new world beyond what we can see with the naked eye. If it wasn’t for Adjacent Innovation in the glass industry, we wouldn’t have the internet today.
Where can you start?
Keep a spark file. I keep a one on my phone. Every time I see or hear something that inspires me, I jot it down. It can be completely random things for example a quote, a song, a case study, a child’s response to a question. Really Anything.
When I have free time, I sit down and go through my spark file and play around with what sparked an idea for me. How could you make that spark something more? What would you add to it? What would you change or remove? Why it’s making an impact on you and is there more to it you should investigate? This is how you explore and create a brain map.
This topic is so fascinating to me, that I created a full day masterclass on fueling creativity and inspiring innovation to inspire others The creative and strategic process of innovation is so much fun, I could do it all day, every day.
Exploring with your imagination is key to a successful career in innovation. If you can imagine it, you can create it.
Remember, Ideas start forming as you start working on them.
Dig Deep into problems
“If I had 60 minutes to solve a problem. I’d spend 55 minutes defining it, and 5 minutes solving it” Albert Einstein
I will never forget the day my husband introduced me to a movie, called 12 Angry Men. This is a trial film that tells the story of a jury made up of 12 men as they deliberate the guilt of a defendant on the basis of reasonable doubt. At first it appears guilty as charged, but then when the jury starts unpacking the evidence, a whole new story unfolds.
So many times, when we are solving problems, we don’t dig deep enough and this leads to us diagnosing a symptom and not the cause.
Russell L Ackoff says it best: “Successful problem solving requires finding the right solution to the right problem. We fail more often because we solve the wrong problem than because we get the wrong solution to the right problem”
Big Data is an excellent tool to discover behavior and the connected individual leave a digital footprint that gives us the ability to recognise meaningful patterns. Keep in mind, every connected individual has different “personas” when they are connected, depending on their 24 hour days in a 7 day week. The environments they find themselves in will also dictate different types of behaviours, and key will be for you to identify the correct persona attributes when you digging.
In summary, it is fundamental that you combine physical, digital, sensorial and emotional experiences and overlap it with the 7 layers of connectivity to understand the contextual relevance. You can learn more here: The Connected Marketer ™
I close of by saying if you apply these habits, it will open up a whole new world to you. It seems there is not much too it, but it takes a lot of dedication to apply these habits. I spend hours a week reading and exploring beyond my normal work day to keep my mind full of new persectives.
Remember question everything, take a slightly different view of events and challenge assumptions and make creativity a daily habit.
You WILL become the super hero of problem solving!
post by Carmen Murray, Founder and Tech Visionary of Boo-Yah!