Wednesday, June 30th, 2010 at 6:51 pm
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 The “old model” was disruptive when it was started but it can become the outdated norm.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.
Wednesday, June 9th, 2010 at 11:35 am
Inspiration rarely happens in a vacuum it requires interaction with other non-like minded individuals.Â Communcation with those in your line of work might trigger innovations but since they come from the same mindsetÂ theÂ innovationsÂ can be limited.
Creating a Creative community to share views and thoughts on thier specialty can stimulate new concepts.Â Face to face will work better than the online experience. There is simply no way to replace human interaction online. Text like this is limited to aÂ stale Â one-way representation ofÂ thoughts.Â NauncesÂ can be misunderstood while a simple facial expression can communcate unspoken volumes.Â Â Search for meetings with creative individuals on local basis. It may require an immersion into the online social networking to find local contacts. Perhaps an advertisement at yourlocal watering hole can yield results. It won’t set itself up. Get proactive and create your own creative community. Everyone will get an advantage from the inchange of thoughts and views.
By all means continue the online experince but realize that much of the unsaid implied concepts can be easliy missed.
Thursday, May 27th, 2010 at 6:07 pm
Another item to add to your innovation tool box is the ability to turn a concept inside out and branch it. The idea can be explored by working with individual requirements and playing with them.
Single Branch exploration is the change of individual parts of the idea one by one.
Multiple Branch exploration as the name implies changes multiple parts of the idea at the same time.
Single level Exploration: Digital Rights Media (DRM) locks up usage of media for a single user for a limited or unlimited time.
1) What about allowing it to be shared for a limited time? Then it gets locked.
2) Group media lock instead of by individual? So you could make a group buy instead of an individual buy.
3) DRM locks up commercial media. What about your own media?
4) What about management by exclusion? Similar to #1 but organizational based.
5) DRM locks locks by time. What about allowing downloads to occur and then enabling them after a certain date?
6) What about DRM for an entire slew of media for an individual but only allowing one active item on the device?
7) What about DRM open for a single day? It can only be played on a single date and it erases itself after that day.
Multiple level Exploration: Digital Rights Media (DRM) locks up usage of media for a single user for a limited or unlimited time.
A) Group media lock with a limited time share.
B) Automatic (If subscribed!) download of single shot media play.
C) DRM download of multiple media types using a single DRM password setting.
D) Subscription service DRM all DRM media is good while you pay a monthly fee.
Idea D is rather scary for how a user could be impacted. It represents the fact the idea needs to be pushed into radical areas. Many times the idea needs to be made radical to find something usable. Other times the idea just stinks. Have no fear ofÂ moving the idea into the radÂ zone. It might be where it fits.
Branching the idea out in multiple directions can find new ideas. The problem with this innovation is it’s only an expansion of the original idea. Doing this with a new idea not based on a present functionality can find very unique.
More branching information on the way.
Tuesday, May 18th, 2010 at 10:59 pm
Observation is the key.
Many times problems occur in front of us but we don’t catch them. Problems that have workarounds become invisible.Â Since you have a way around the problem eventually you don’t see it as a problem. You have to be able toÂ observe your own actions.Â That can be very difficult to do but it also opens the mind to observe more deeply. The effect is to question (within reason!)Â why you do things in a certain way. When a co-worker or customer complains about a problem. Capture that issue. It is a fleeting item and can be lost if you don’t capture immediately.Â Be sure to understand it from the viewpoint it was found from. That lets you know not only what the problem is but who needs to be satisfied with the solution.
The problem is the lock.
Extrapolate what you saw and try to describe the issue as clearly as you can. Typically it will take multiple tries because the words you need to use might not be in your normal vocabulary. Describe the issue at the root. Do not solve the issue at this stage. The better you can describe the concept of the problem the more effective you will be at finding a solution.
Innovation turns the handle and opens the door.
Now apply yourself to the extracted problem concept. The innovation needed to solve the problem does not work in a straight line. Expect bumps and dead ends. Write or draw any possible solutions you can think of. Your approach should branch out in all directions. Explore the concept for the solution might be. Change the parameters of the problem a bit. Are you blocking the way to the solution by restricting your innovation within the limits of your expertise?Â Limiting your solution to one user type?Â Reach beyond into what needs done to solve the issue not how it needs done. When you can describe in real terms what should be done to solve the issue you are on the path to an innovation. Then start looking for the how to for the solution.Â Don’t be surprised if it requires some special knowledge you don’t have.
Observation is the key. The problem is the lock. Innovation unlocks the solution.
Saturday, May 15th, 2010 at 5:42 pm
Never let your lack of knowledge on a subject stop you from exploring an idea a new area. You will inevitably find dead ends but the thought exercise within the new area will allow you to try some thing new. Coming into the area from outside without being an expert means you don’t carry any biases. That may enable you to see things others overlook.Â It will also be a newÂ place to make mistakes. That’s good. If we always go into the same area and don’t expect to have any errors we won’t learn.