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 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.
We recently ran across a company whose mission is to provide know-how on innovation thinking and processes, Values Centered Innovation™ (VCI). VCI is a global innovation enablement enterprise. They are a mission with a business.
VCI says that the core of its vision is based on the fact that each one of us has different habits, talents, knowledge, values, interests, and ways of expressing ourselves. And, while we all have the capacity to be innovative, we approach innovation and change in different ways. You may like to build on your past experience, or maybe you prefer a vision to guide you. You might enjoy putting together unusual combinations of things. Or perhaps you like to throw caution to the wind and explore the unknown.
They believe that recognizing the different ways to innovate is key to working together successfully – in a group or in an organization. Very key in our minds. We all have our own unique approach to meeting a creative challenge, for sure. Let’s examine VCI’s mixture of four Innovation Styles as they describe them on their website:
People who have the visioning style like to imagine an ideal solution and let long term goals be their driving force. They trust their instincts, like to make decisions, and seek solutions that focus on future potential. They envision and idealize, and we believe, do not fear risk taking.
Modifying and visioning styles are more focused, planning, and results oriented.
People who have the modifying style like to refine and improve what has already been done. We believe their style is incrementalism and it tends to be risk adverse. They tend to be precise and disciplined to ensure the full potential of an idea gets developed. Their style is to refine and optimize.
Visioning and exploring styles primarily use intuition, insights and images.
Individuals who have the exploring style like to question assumptions and discover novel, very different, possibilities and approaches. People with this style tend to add a sense of adventure to a project and open up the potential for dramatic breakthroughs. They challenge and discover.
Exploring and experimenting styles are more broad, perceptive, and learning oriented.
Those who have the experimentation style like to test out various combinations of new ideas as well as prototype and use them to test new ideas and learn from the results. Individuals with this style are good collaborators who love to build models and are effective consensus builders. They combine and test.
Experimenting and modifying styles primarily use facts, details, and analysis.