In this InvENting 101, we’re digging into tips and tricks you can use to push yourself to be more innovative in your thinking and methodologies.
Innovation doesn’t always have to point to technological advancement or a spanking new fix to an age old problem. Sometimes it’s as simple as trying a different way of doing things that’s more effective than it was before.
Complexity and innovation aren’t always mutually exclusive. The trick is just being open to change. We’ve highlighted ten of these tips in no specific order to help your innovation process below.
Don’t build a more complicated problem even before you get started. Break your idea down into bite-size pieces (problem, benefit, solution). Perhaps it may be best to improve the process first before moving toward the bold new discovery of your latest innovation. That small step can prove invaluable to your end result by cutting costs and enriching customer satisfaction.
Never stop learning
Become a jack-of-all-trades. The more information you have access to, the better you’re able to approach an issue from different angles. So attend workshops/conferences, talk to your neighbors, and find other people in your chosen industry to bounce around ideas. You never know where the impetus for innovation will find you. Change comes at you fast. Recognizing it and being prepared to act on it are indispensable assets.
Make the connections that aren’t always apparent
Be original in that you look for contradictions – items that don’t necessarily belong together, but work in a way not imagined. Break through the constraints of limiting yourself to heretofore unheard of ideas, when your actual innovation may be that you saw a flaw in the current market. Bear in mind that this includes products that solve an inconsistency without needing any compromises. For example, like what call waiting did for the telecommunications industry.
Get out of your comfort zone and different parts of your brain will light up. You’ll essentially retrain it to consider a new perspective. This really forces you to think out your strategy before development begins. Changing the POV from which you tackle the problem, expands the number of possible solutions.
Don’t be afraid to fail up
Maybe you caught Will Smith’s viral Instagram video on failure. If not, hold tight: Smith, arguably one of the most successful entertainment stars in the world, gives the advice to “Fail often. Fail early. Fail forward.” And while this is practical advice in acting and music, it also works for invention. Thomas Edison failed 1000 times inventing the light bulb, but each attempt brought him ever closer to the incandescent goal. Create, fail, tweak, fail some more and repeat. Get comfortable with failure because it’s the key to success.
Pick the right collaborators
You know the old adage that two heads are better than one? Though true, it’s also important to choose someone that not only complements your skillset, but your personality/working style as well. Find someone that’s just as enthusiastic about the industry as you, yet brings something different to the table so you won’t end up with the same ideas flowing back and forth.
Innovation can seem easy from the sidelines. But with the passion can also arise the pain. Setbacks happen. Sometimes the goal line gets pushed back. With conviction, keep moving forward. Everyday take another step, give it another tweak, and make sure you record all progress so you’ll have proof of momentum. Turn your challenges into an opportunity to dig even deeper into your creativity well. You can do this. Just keep going.
Add meaning to whatever you’re inventing
Motivation to complete the task at hand becomes internal since it’s important to you, and not just something to check off a list. Picking an innovation that appeals to your ideals as well as your bottom line helps the process move along faster, whether you’re improving technology or simply the way things get done.
Solve a problem, innovate
New products come out every year that give customers more bells and whistles to enjoy. Sometimes, these just serve to distract the customer instead of fixing the original problem. Customer loyalty is motivated by satisfaction with how well a product fixes the issue at hand. If you concentrate on offering a direct, simple solution, you can rest assured of an engaged, faithful audience.
Try design thinking
Design thinking fits into lean innovation which focuses on the customer to aid brainstorming. What are the issues that customers complain about the most? That’s where you start during product development to save time and resources.
Remember, the process has 5 steps:
- Observe/Engage Customers
- Define Actual Problem
- Let Ideas Flow/Pick Best Potential Solution