Ideas at their inception can be very fragile. When the company determines a strict direction for the innovations it wants it automatically limits the reach of the ideas presented to it.Â True innovation will disrupt the status quo so many times backwards companies have a desire to maintain it’s position using the “old model”. The “old model” was disruptive when it was started but it can become the outdated norm. Company momentum then takes over to maintain the success of the “old model”.
Watch for these statements from management.
“We have always done it this way and will continue with this approach.” Translation We are comfortable with this approach because no one wants to own the risk in making big adjustments. The bureaucrats want it run like this even though they don’t have a clue what really needs done.
“Lets not concentrate on big innovations what we need now are incremental advances” Translation All we want to do is keep our present position in the industry. Advancements are a risky let’s play follow the leader instead of trying to lead the pack. We lost lots of money trying to lead the pack and won’t make that mistake again.
“Follow our process to the letter and we will make it work”. Translation We desire no innovation in the way we do things. Simple drones following the process will get it done. We don’t trust the little folk to do the job right soÂ follow the process and rock the boat.Â Blindly following the processÂ becomes more important than doing the work the right way. That’s when innovation dies.
Using the “old model”, inflexible bureaucracy, looking for incremental advancements and slavish devotion to process are proven methods to kill innovation.
PictureÂ your workspace and with no furniture. Take the empty space and in your mind repopulate it with the following groups of objects.
A large oak rolltop desk with an oak chair and bookcases on all the walls filled with dusty volumes in leather bindings.
A standard office cubical set up with bland colors,Â the sound of pounding keyboards coming in and hushedÂ talking in the background.
Two steel file cabinets supporting a slab a plywood to form a rough desktop, a bundle ofÂ cables curledÂ underneath , a computer screen perched on top of file cabinet, piles of booksÂ on the floor toÂ your right and left and a cinder block bookshelf over flowing with reference manuals.
A large cherry excutive desk,Â four plush velvet chairs, an original Rembrant hanging on the wall, and a hot silver coffeepot sitting on a silver tray filling the air with the smell of fresh coffee.
Each of these newly designed rooms project an attitude. Which one makes you feel more creative?
The environment around you helps shape your thoughts. There is no right environment for everyone. It has to match the your needs. Consider which of the followingÂ states of mind you need to achieve to be at your peak:
The quicker you can get there the better. Now go back to your real work space. What can you do to make that peak state of mind in reach?Â Â Pictures ,posters, or what everÂ puts you in theÂ needed mindset should be added. Â MakeÂ the changes and then use them to get in your peak state of mind.
How do you work with areas outside of your expertise?
Do you approach it methodically or just plunge it?
There will always be limits to your knowledge going about it by rote learning all of the ins and outs of the area will take time and effort you might not have the time for. The secret is to brush into the area and learn what you need not what is there.Â If your interest takes off remember that you are only visiting it and not becoming the expert on the subject.
Plunging and and making assumptions before you learn more on the subject has an advantage. experts in the field are limited by their perceptions of what is possible and what has been done. Coming into the area without any of that baggage means you don’t have any of those problems. You also don’t have enough knowledge to know the perils and pitfalls of it. Take your assumptions into the area and explore with the intent of finding out if your assumptions are right. You will learn more if you are focused on problem than just reading info.
The difference in how you learn best determines which method you use. Be flexible don’t be stuck in either approach. Keep expanding and the world will be brighter.
There is a distinct difference in how you solve problems. Link to Science daily. While learning programming I have noticed a lack of ideas appearing. It seems the more regimented our thoughts and approaches are the less we play hunches. We apply what we have learned in the ways that are effective. That may limit the imagination toÂ solutions to more of a straight line thought pattern. After the knowledge of that area gets into the background it should be usable for imagination sources.
While in the loose and free mode of thinking the ideas continued to appear. The question this asks is “Which mindset is more effective for ideas and how can it be achieved?”
Using method allows you to find issues you can see and where you can plan on a solution. Planning on the solution to the problem can be effective if you are the expert. The problem with the method approach is it keeps your views within the limits of your knowledge. If the solution is that easy to reach does it have value?
Using insight requires you to reach beyond your immediate view and go into the unknown where the problem is more important than knowing the solution. When going into the unknown the concentration is on finding and understandingÂ the problem first without regard to the exact solution.Â Instead of having a distinct reachable solution it typically requires you to access more expertise. When the solution is very hard to reach it might be more valuable.
This is very simplified. I’ll get back to this subject again.
The classic Gorilla video shows us that when you concentrate on the demand (Count the passes) you can see but not observe what goes on. When we look for a solution to a specific problem do you ignore other ideas you encounter? That’s the norm for an amateur innovator. Ramp your output up to the next level and write down all of the dead ends you encounter.
Go back to those dead ends on a monthly basis and re-explore them looking for the gorilla. Now that you are not focused on the count or the original problem see where those dead ends might take you.
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