Capture the great ideas all around you
The solution to a problem or an exciting opportunity could come from anywhere, if you are open to discovering ideas and listening to others. According to last month’s poll results, you already recognize that: 80% of the respondents said the best ideas come from all levels of their organizations, while 20% replied confidently that they themselves are the source of great ideas.
Whether you want to tap into others’ insights or boost your own creativity, these habits will pay off:
- Make it better. Instead of focusing on a brand new idea, improve an existing one. Apple’s iPod entered the market three years after the first digital audio players, but the ease of using iTunes to download and manage content led it to dominate the market. Train yourself and your team members to be keen observers of how your customers use your—and your competitors’—products or services. Look for points of frustration or waste. Encourage employees to share “little ideas” that could set you apart from the competition.
- Combine disparate ideas. If you focus only on your field, you will miss opportunities to make the type of surprising connections that often lead to innovation. Johannes Gutenberg revolutionized printing by applying the techniques used in wine and olive presses. Engaging in a hobby, reading about an unfamiliar subject, and meeting people with different expertise and backgrounds will expose you and your staff to new ways of doing things and thinking about the world. That can dramatically change how you see your work. Send your team on field trips, and challenge them to make connections between unfamiliar things. Examples: “How is our customer service like a coconut?“ “How should the food we serve be more like a smartphone?“
- Open the opportunities. Traditional brainstorming sessions where employees gather to be creative at an appointed time restrict thinking. Make your workplace fertile ground for nurturing ideas. Follow the leads of 3M and Google, and grant employees free time to tinker and collaborate on projects outside their normal duties. Create an online or physical space for people to post problems and ideas so that people from other departments can respond and build on their thoughts. Don’t make the process of turning ideas into reality too long or onerous. Support risk-taking, and be willing to test ideas on a small scale, to work out the kinks before you invest heavily in them.
If innovation stalls within your organization, you can’t be competitive in today’s ever-changing business world. This multimedia training resource teaches you the four-step IDEA process, a strategy you can use to increase creativity at every level in your organization.
The product includes a 17-minute video that shows how to:
- Boost the flow of ideas from front-line employees.
- Encourage problem-solving at every level.
- Take calculated risks.
- Increase outside-the-box thinking.
- Acknowledge ideas that work.
- And more!
The product also includes a CD-ROM that features a Trainer’s Guide, a Viewer’s Guide and lots of customizable, print-ready forms that you can reference again and again.
Click here to receive The Organized Executive’s Piority One twice each month!