Business Articles

HOW TO LEAD INNOVATIONS

Mar 19, 2018 || The ABC Of Innovation

by Chinedu Opara

How can you lead innovations?

Leading Innovation = Creativity + Commercialization

“..if we want to succeed as an organization – we must drive innovation into everything we do” Chairman Bill Ford’s speech, NATIONAL PRESS CLUB WASHINGTON, DC November 22, 2005.

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OUTLINE

  • Innovation – What is it?
  • Types of innovation
  • What is Creativity?
  • Portrait of a Creative Person
  • Five Tips To Help You Enhance Your Creativity
  • A Suggested Innovation Framework

WHAT IS INNOVATION

According to Wiki, Innovation is the introduction of new ideas, goods, services, and practices which are intended to be useful (though a number of unsuccessful innovations can be found throughout history). The main driver for innovation is often the courage and energy to better the world. An essential element for innovation is its application in a commercially successful way. Innovation has punctuated and changed human history (consider the development of electricity, steam engines, motor vehicles, et al).

Bring in New Methods, Make Changes, Make New

TYPES OF INNOVATION

In business and economics, innovation is often divided into five types:

1.PRODUCT INNOVATION

which involves the introduction of a new good or service that is substantially improved. This might include improvements in functional characteristics, technical abilities, ease of use, or any other dimension.

2.PROCESS INNOVATION

This involves the implementation of a new or significantly improved production or delivery method.

3.MARKETING INNOVATION

This is the development of new marketing methods with improvement in product design or packaging, product promotion or pricing.

4.ORGANIZATIONAL INNOVATION

This (also referred to as social innovation) involves the creation of new organizations practices, ways of running organizations or new organizational behavior.

5.BUSINESS MODEL INNOVATION

This involves changing the way business is done in terms of capturing value e.g. Compaq vs. Dell.

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WHAT IS CREATIVITY?

According to social psychologist Teresa Amabile, there are three basic ingredients to creativity:

  • Domain skills – Domain skills are developed as one becomes an expert in a field. To be a creative mechanical engineer, one must first master the fundamentals of the discipline.
  • Creative thinking skills – Creative thinking skills include seeking novelty and diversity, being independent, being persistent, and having high standards.
  • Intrinsic motivation – Intrinsic motivation implies that the reasons for doing things come from within – from passion and pleasure, not as a result of external demands, pressures, or rewards.

“Creative people pay attention to their world, see things differently, challenge assumptions, take risks, are not afraid to fail, and strive to generate multiple solutions to problems. They are passionate about creativity and seek opportunities to innovate.”

Research has shown that regardless of age or education, everyone has the capacity to become more creative.  Here are six tips to help you enhance your creativity and stimulate creativity with your co-workers.

STEPS TO ENHANCE CREATIVITY

Open Your Mind – Have one new experience every day; no matter how small.  New experiences stimulate the brain and help you make new and original connections; critical for boosting breakthroughs. Attend new forms of entertainment, read books or magazines you’ve never read before, take a class in a subject you know nothing about, listen to music you profess to hate, go somewhere really different on your next vacation, talk to people you normally don’t have a chance to meet.  New experiences become the raw material for new ideas.  The cross-pollination of diverse ideas is a primary stimulant for creativity.

Diversify – Involve others in your problem-solving efforts who bring a different perspective or cultural experience than yours. In addition to picking the brains of experts and knowledgeable colleagues, talk to people who are unfamiliar about the issue.  By using this approach, you’ll be asked “dumb questions” that can often help you question assumptions, and see your challenge from a different angle with fresh eyes and a more open mind.

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Mental Floss – Relax; Stress, exhaustion, boredom and even pain can block our pathways to creativity. Creativity often seeps in through the cracks.  By allowing yourself time to quiet your mind each day, the solutions beneath the surface will bubble up and you’ll be available to catch them.  Twenty minutes of uninterrupted incubation time daily will produce a plethora of ideas.

Stop Looking For the Right Answer – Look for many right answers.

Multiple solution thinking can help you strengthen your creative muscle, while generating more ideas, which always leads to better ideas.  Setting idea quotas can force you to push the envelope, forging past predictable, obvious solutions.

Thomas Edison died with 1,092 patents to his name as a result of setting quotas for himself and his staff.  He quota was as follows:  a minor invention every 10 days, a major one every six months. In gold mining, it takes nearly 200,000 ounces of ore to produce just one ounce of gold.  It’s no different with ideas.  Mine with perseverance and patience, and you’ll be richly rewarded.

Discover Your Creative Rhythm – Start paying attention to when you get your best ideas. Everyone has creative performance peaks daily.  Some of us get our best ideas during our morning commute, others wake up in the middle of the night with thunderbolts of genius.  Unfortunately, most of us don’t honor this fertile idea-harvesting time.  Start paying attention to when you get your best ideas.  If you aren’t sure, keep a log for a week and jot down what time of day you are most mentally productive.

It’s been said that the difference between creative geniuses and “normal” people is that creatives have more effective capturing techniques.  They pay attention to their best ideas and record them before they have a chance to slip away.  Once you discover your creative rhythm, make sure you have a tape recorder, laptop, or pad and pencil nearby to capture your ideas.

Health Makes Wealth – Regular exercise not only benefits your body, it boosts brain performance as well.

One study found that 20-minute aerobic sessions twice weekly, kept up for eight weeks, brought about significant changes in creativity tests in college students who had not previously exercised.  A well-oxygenated brain functions more effectively.

A SUGGESTED INNOVATION FRAMEWORK

  • JUST DO IT
    • DO NOT BE AFRAID TO FAIL
    • TAKE RISKS
    • MOVE FORWARD WITH YOUR IDEA
    SEEK NOVELTY IN DESIGN
    • SEEK NOVELTY IN DESIGN
    • DIVERSIFY
    • STOP LOOKING FOR THE RIGHT ANSWER; LOOK FOR MANY RIGHT ANSWERS
    SET GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
    • DEFINE CLEARLY YOUR GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
    IDENTIFY PROBLEMS AND/OR OPPORTUNITIES
    • CHALLENGE ALL ASSUMPTIONS
    • SEEK OPPORTUNITIES TO INNOVATE
    SEEK OPPORTUNITIES
    • OPEN YOUR MIND
    • MENTAL FLOSS
    • DISCOVER YOUR CREATIVE RHYTHM
    • HEALTH MAKES WEALTH
    FIND WHAT YOU LOVE
    • BECOME AN EXPERT IN THE FIELD YOU LOVE
    • BECOME PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR FIELD

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QUESTIONS TO PONDER ON

Do you have an innovative culture?

Do you have innovate in an adhoc nature or is there a systematic approach?

Do you Innovate fast?

Does the size and structure of the organization you work with affect its ability to be innovative?  How?

GOLDEN RULES FOR NURTURING CREATIVITY

1.Life is full of contradictions.  We accept them in our relationships – we need to accept them in our work environments and not try to control them.

2.Correct processes will allow adaptable organizations to respond.

“Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction” – Pablo Picasso

Chinedu Opara.

REFERENCES

Everyday Creativity: Principles for Innovative Design. Dr. Larry G. Richards

Innovative Thinking: Six Simple Secrets by Padi Selwyn, M.A

Chukukere Amarachi is an Artistic Nigerian Social Impact Advocate, Blogger, Communications & Media Enthusiast, Aspiring Social Entrepreneur and Trainer who promotes and believes in sustainable livelihoods for all. She seeks to inspires a global audience with her voice, business, community development projects and advocacy messages. Her Goal Building an enabling environment for great potentials to thrive. She can be really goofy and playful, is attracted to exotic dishes and locations and wouldn't mind owning a private jet, oh yeah! She's a strong believer and follower of Jesus Christ. For her people who cook, create, explore and travel have a spot in my heart ♥

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