Five Steps to Start Innovating

Have you ever thought about how great innovators are able to come up with new insights that lead to brilliant ideas? It’s no coincidence. Utilizing observations, experiences, facts and emotions, while examining their relationships, is the key to groundbreaking innovation.

Red Thread ThinkingYou too can have access to the knowledge and resources needed to generate fresh ideas. A new book, RED THREAD THINKING: Weaving Together Connections for Brilliant Ideas and Profitable Innovation, by Debra Kaye explains how to seamlessly weave your innate knowledge into insights that lead to unique products ideas. Here are a few examples of how to ignite your inner innovator.  

Create new ideas from ones that are already out there. Coming up with an “original” idea can be a real task. But that’s okay, nothing’s perfect and sometimes things need to be improved upon. Take, for example, the ever-evolving field of communication. The fifteenth century Gutenberg press was based on ancient Chinese moveable type from years past and Gutenberg’s own metallurgy expertise. Reworking, or tweaking, existing ideas into something new (and improved) will lead to successful innovation.

Ask unexpected questions. In order to come up with new and meaningful ideas, you need to put some thought into the shape and scope of the questions you are asking. If Jay Walker, the creator of Priceline.com, had not consulted with hotels and airlines as to what would work within their framework, he would have created just another travel site that failed to stand out from the rest.  However, because Walker was able to gain an edge by asking the right questions, he opened new avenues of exchange for consumer-driven businesses.  

Look what can play into people’s existing behaviors. There are many innovators who believe that a new product must permanently change personal and cultural behaviors in order to be successful. This is untrue, and often a formidable task; instead it’s much easier to take advantage of people’s existing habits and behaviors. When Bernard Sadow, for example, saw as a customs agent roll a heavy machine effortlessly with the aid of a skid with wheels, it sparked his idea for wheeled personal luggage.

Sleep on it. If you want to be an effective innovator, you need a good night’s rest. Studies suggest that when you snooze your brain is incredibly active. Because of the information freely flowing as you sleep, you are able to make new and exciting connections that the waking, conscious mind cannot.   

Cop an attitude. You’re actually a genius.  Confidence and an unwavering sense of self belief are paramount to success. You need to be able to take the personal and professional risks that will benefit your business, to forever challenge yourself and seek improvements. If you think you’re a genius, it just might help you become one.

If you need the inspiration to create a fresh business plan or want to take your company in a new direction, Red Thread Thinking gives you a common-sense approach to generate ideas and innovate within any context—all at the tips of your fingers. You can have the same success as experienced innovators with a little patience and practice. It’s just about finding the right threads.
 

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6 comments
robertkennedy3
robertkennedy3

Your second statement refers to asking the "right" questions. How do you know what questions are the "right" questions? Do you just keep asking and eventually they will come? What do you suggest for finding this out within yourself?

susansilver
susansilver

One of my favorite inventions ever, velcro, came about because one man was walking in nature. He noticed that burrs clung to clothing because they had little hooks. He applied the same thinking and now we have velcro, which is very handy for all sorts of things.

KDillabough
KDillabough

Every innovation comes from building upon, reconfiguring, capitalizing upon, adjusting or breaking apart to re-orient something that already exists. If more people simply realized that each "new' idea builds upon something that already exists, they wouldn't see innovation as something for only the exceptional creative, but something we all posses: the ability to look at something and see it in a different way. Cheers! Kaarina

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