Generating innovative ideas is not a straightford process. It is impossible to generate them on demand. However, innovative thinking can be fostered if you are willing to change the way you think, act and interact with others. This allows creating an environment which naturally facilitates innovative ideas. Building such an environment is a time-consuming process. However, once established, it can significantly enhance innovative thinking and lead to groundbreaking innovations.
It is a common practice to facilitate innovation by identifying challenges. It is also important to think of ways of generating ideas. For example, you can put up a white board by a coffee machine on which you can post a weekly challenge for employees. Another option is to put a box in which employees could put their ideas. It is also useful to hold ideation sessions for addressing specific challenges and collecting ideas.
Takeaway 1: Identify challenges and collect ideas.
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Many people come up with their best ideas in unusual places such as a shower cabin. Why so? Research suggests that this happens because we are bored. When our minds are not occupied with anything interesting or important, they start wandering. This is the moment when completely new ideas can come up. To boost your innovative thinking, try taking more downtime when you are not focusing on anything important.
Takeaway 2: More downtime.
Novel ideas do not equal innovation. Ideas become innovative once they are proved to be viable and valuable. This is why it is important to validate your new idea. Before committing to your idea, talk to potential customers and try to presell it. This is how you will discard less viable ideas quickly and invest all that time and resources that you would have wasted in something that has true business potential.
Takeaway 3: Focus on utility.
Too much focus on things that you are used to limits your thinking process and perception. To think innovatively, you need to step out of your comfort zone and seek out new experiences. It does not have to be anything grand such as seeing the northern lights in Iceland. All you need to do is to try something new which could stimulate your mind and senses. Try reading books of a different genre or picking up a new hobby. This will stimulate your innovative thinking.
Takeaway 4: Look for new experiences.
Too much dependence on employees’ ability to generate innovative ideas can in fact limit creativity. The solution to this problem is simple: rely more on your customers. They are an excellent source of innovation. Their input could guide you where you should place your work priorities. Take time to carefully examine customer feedback. Even if it does not help you come up with an innovative idea, it can help you discover customer needs and gaps in your offering.
Takeaway 5: Listen to your customers.
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