While the main focus of our agency is marketing and customer service, we also focus on creativity and innovation. Why? Because everything in marketing and customer service depends on building innovation as well as creative and innovative change. From time to time we’ll post interesting tidbits on creative thinking and innovation. Many on how to generate creative ideas on collaborative innovation.
As background, our perspective on creativity is that it not about invention. Rather it is about collecting and connecting dots — bringing together two (or more) ideas to create an altogether new idea. We often think of innovation as inventing new things, but we may be smarter to think of it as recombining old ones. The truth is that important breakthroughs usually come from combining ideas from different domains. Often combining very different, sometimes weird ideas.
Innovation is the process through which value is created and delivered to a community in the form of a new solution. We have purposely chosen to frame the definition as a process. It can also be used to describe a new product or service … the output of the process. That is why we are always on a lookout for great ideas on innovation processes.
What do you think: are innovators born or made? Surely, those who spawn ideas that change the world are special – different than the rest of us. Take one look at an Einstein, a Steve Jobs or a Da Vinci, and it seems that they were bequeathed with something unique. But that is not the way of building innovation.
But are we looking in the right direction? I believe the biggest secret of innovation is that anyone can do it. The reason is simple: It’s just not that hard. Look up the word “innovate” in any dictionary and see what it actually means, instead of what you think it means. You’ll find something like this:
To innovate is to introduce something new.
That’s it. It doesn’t say you need to be a creative genius or a workaholic. It’s just three little words: introduce something new.
The keyword in the definition is “new.” The common trap about newness is the assumption that new means something the universe has never seen before. This turns out to be a very bad assumption.
Here’s why I conclude this: name any great innovator, and I guarantee they borrowed and reused ideas from the past to make whatever it is they are famous for.
Innovation principles and process
Companies often ask themselves why their innovation principles seem to produce so few truly game-changing ideas. Why are they mostly getting only lukewarm suggestions for incremental improvements rather than radical new concepts for revolutionizing their industries? How can an organization get dramatically better at generating big, breakthrough ideas?
What are missing in most companies are innovation principles that translate ideas into winning ideas.
Does your company do crowdsourcing in any form? Have you done any recent reading or research on crowdsourcing design? We follow this topic quite closely and have written several blogs on the topic and the businesses that employ it.
Crowdsourcing design is not just for new entrants challenging established players; the latter can also leverage crowdsourcing to their advantage, enabling users to design new products and test the demand at the same time.