Creativity is a peculiar thing. One seemingly unrelated bit of information leads to another. One unassuming moment turns into an idea and then you have a spark, a focus, a new direction.
Yes, innovation can be like trying to capture lighting in a bottle. But it can also be as simple as connecting the dots, filling in the blanks, listening to your audience and actually meeting a need or desire. It can come from any where:
- Necessity can lead to innovation (cars, handbags, light bulbs).
- Mistakes can lead to innovation (Post It Notes).
- Family play time can lead to innovation (Jibbitz).
That spark may come from any direction. But if you want to give it a little push below are a few suggestions.
Read and Collect Ideas
Being well read stimulates your mind and creates opportunities to connect the dots between industries that others would never consider. Mix it up with books, magazines and blogs across industries. If you’re academic, spend a day with artists. Learn to see life through the eyes of a photographer or painter. It brings a new perspective.
Anita Campbell gives a couple of suggestions for helping you generate fresh ideas in “3 Websites That Will Inspire You To Innovate,” “A Feast for the Mind: 3 Innovation Blogs That Will Inspire Ideas” and “3 Innovation Websites Inspire New Moves for 2012.” Whether you have a few minutes or hours to dig in, Anita refers to 9 innovation blogs and websites to help get your creative juices flowing.
Talk To The People You’re Trying To Help
Their problem is your opportunity. Just listen without explaining or making excuses. Take it all in, so that you can really get a feel for what they’re saying.
Knowing their perspective could be a game changer for your business. And once you know it, go for a walk and let the conversation run through your mind. Bring it up in your team meetings. Turn it over until you have answer.
Test Your Ideas In The Real World
There’s nothing like facing your customers yourself and seeing their responses. Consider being an undercover CEO that just serves the people.
You’ll be surprised what you find out when people don’t know you are in charge. You’ll discover your company weaknesses — which could an employee, a poor system and disconnected management.
Innovation is not exclusive, nor it it automatic. Make room for creativity and see how it changes your team and your business.
Lightening Photo via Shutterstock