Standard operation will be to keep an innovation notebook within reach at all times. Ideas come and go on their own and if not written down they escape and never get revisited. Multiple half baked ideas can coalesce into something new IF you can review them later. Note every thing that seems interesting and then review weekly or monthly. Ideas can strike and the most inopportune times. Going over older ideas several months later can yield new insights.
The basic idea is a starting point for adventure. The more you explore the idea it will expand into new areas that may be quite different from the direction that the idea started off with. Explore the side streets of the idea. They will take you into new territory. It may be have been explored but possibly not from the direction you are taking. The starting point does not determine the goal but it adds a bit of bias to your viewpoint.
Example: Noticing that someone pulls the remote lock for the car out of the pocket quite far away from the car.
The no think approach is they waited too long. The observational innovator says “Why didn’t the car lock when they got over ten feet away from it?” That can be branched out into several different problem spaces
a) Lock the front door of the house automatically
b) Go farther afield if the garage door is open after 10Pm close it automatically with a warning sound of course!
c) If I press the remote start for the car while in the garage that is closed either
- Alert the driver and prevent it from starting
- Open the garage door and then start the car
- Remove the error possibility from the owner by automating part of the actionable items.
Take the actions and their actors and inverse the actions. Some times the inversion of the idea can make better innovations than the direct observations. You need to separate the parts out a bit to get the action changed. It can make major changes in the idea or amazing enough very little changes in it.
I’ll use the above example
a) Unlock the front door when I open the garage door on the way home or lock the front door as I leave.
b) If my schedule is to leave the house during the week at 7AM can I have the garage door scheduled to open for me? This opens up a large amount of questions
- Where does the schedule come from?
- Overrides. If I am on vacation I don’t want this to happen.
- It must include my holiday schedule
c) If I press the garage door to close and there an impediment in the way don’t move it
- Whoops this one is already in use!
- Some times the inversion doesn’t work. That’s OK but explore it every time!