Sunday, May 5, 2019

Perfecting the Art of Innovation

Perfecting the art of innovation is not about pursuing a state of being perfect, but about taking a continuous journey of improving the success rate of innovation.

Creativity is an innate process to generate novel ideas and innovation is a management process of transforming those ideas to achieve their commercial value. That is what the innovation all about - getting the result in something which leads us to a better state than where we are today. You begin the innovation with well-aligned structure and process, but those processes or structures are not perfect, it’s actually necessary to have a certain degree of chaos to breakdown some old rules or outdated processes for playing the innovation oddball with the free spirit. Innovation is both art and science. Fundamentally speaking, innovation management is a scientific discipline with a set of best or next practices to perfect the art of innovation through progressive thinking and continuous improvement.

Inspire thought-provoking questions: Good questions evoke imagination and great questions inspire creativity. Inquisitiveness is one of the most critical ingredients of creativity. Because the great question is like a piece of art, beautiful and insightful, to spark imagination, stimulate creative energy, and attract fresh viewpoints. In fact, a great innovation leader is the one who often has all great questions but not all answers. They never stop asking open-ended questions such as “Why Not,” or “What if,” and start asking them as early as possible at the journey of innovation to engage people, capture the fresh insight and adapt to changes promptly. The art of questioning ignites innovative thinking, stimulates the creative sides of our brains to search for answers. connect the dots to spark fresh ideas with our own personal experience and appreciation. Creative people refuse to be bound by constraints and limitations and pursue possibilities and emerging opportunities. Some innovation leaders leverage the Socratic Method to ask a series of questions, not only draw individual answers but also encourage idea exchange and bring collective insight into the issue at hand. They perfect the art of innovation by doing some “basic” well, such as listening, inquiring, dealing with conflict, advocating fresh viewpoint, or building the trustful relationship, etc.

Tap bright outliers: Creativity is also called “out-of-the-box” thinking. Sometimes the team or the organization goes stale, it’s necessary to tap bright outliers who can see through things from different angles because they keep a certain distance from that environment and they can practice out-of-the-box thinking all the time. An outlier is often creatively disruptive, brings up interdisciplinary knowledge and fresh insight to boost creativity. Perfecting the art of innovation is about shaping a bigger box of thinking either individually or collectively. Many things outside of the box yesterday has become the new normal today. The bright outliers help to rejuvenate a culture of creativity by inspiring people to step out of their comfort zone, become creatively disruptive and dare to be a misfit. When people have the courage to leave inside box thoughts and standards to seek additional resources, updated knowledge, and new experiences, they are open for change, step outside that box into unfamiliar territories, listen to the other side of stories and develop fresh ideas to boost creativity.

Create “Aha” moments: “Aha” moment refers to that exciting moment when what was perplexing and contradictory suddenly falls into place to create momentum - the thorny problems seem to get solved creatively. Metaphorically, the “Aha” moment for coming up with the great idea, is just like the very moment when the lightbulb switch is on - having the transcendence from darkness to brightness. It’s the process of clicking and switching giving rise to glowing. Therefore, the lightbulb often turns to be a symbol of idea and creativity. The “Aha” moment is precious because there are both conscious and subconscious activities involved to spark new ideas and stimulate creativity. Sometimes you need to step out of your logical thinking minds to create something new; at the other time, you blend different types of thinking processes to see things differently for sparking creativity, A creative mind is just like a lightbulb, making unusual dot connections cross knowledge/experience domain or cross-language/cultural boundaries. The more dots you have, the better chance you are able to create “aha” moments and switch on creativity.

Discover patterns: Patterns play a significant role in science, math, art, and virtually every creative activity humans engage in. Patterns are containers for describing relationships because that is what gives them their sense of criticality. Pattern thinking and perception are crucial ingredients of creativity. To be creative, you have to continue discovering new patterns. Each pattern is useful to address some specific problems. The more patterns you discover, the more alternative solutions could emerge. In fact, pattern thinking enables you to capture profound insight into complex problems in order to solve them in a creative way. Patterns are often defined as solutions to problems in a context. A pattern language is about the relationships between patterns; it helps you navigate from pattern to pattern to learn deeper about a problem space and apply different solutions in combination. Thus, pattern Thinking requires you to keep eyes opening and keep your mind out of the box in order to actively seek out the new meaning or fresh ideas wherever you could discover them. It’s a noble practice to perfect the art of innovation.

Let creative fountain flow frictionlessly: It is important to create conditions so that the creative potential can manifest. Creative people are inspired to think and work nearly every day on pondering and creating, they proactively stimulate the new energy, let the fountain of creativity flow frictionlessly. Creativity in the "corporate" world has a lot to do with fostering a creative environment. Ideas are crucial to an innovation program. You need to make sure that your company has a steady flow of fresh ideas floating in your innovation pipeline, and, therefore, you need a methodological platform that allows you to do that. In a business enterprise context, the mantra of "there are no bad ideas" is often used as a catalyst to encourage a flow of ideas and tap the fountain of creativity. To keep the fountain of creativity alive. It is an accepted thumb rule of rewarding people which motivates them to join and engage, create and share ideas. Only in an open trusting space, creativity can flow smoothly and innovation can be catalyzed effortlessly. How collectively creative the working environment is depends on the individuals composing that collective and depends on the rationale for the gathering of people. Innovation will happen when people are given free space to be creative without overly rigid structures for holding them back. Having lots of ideas is always great, but equally important, it’s about validating and implementing those ideas to achieve their business value. It’s more a matter of focus and refinement to perfect the art of innovation and reap the benefit of innovation management.

Perfecting the art of innovation is not about pursuing a state of being perfect, but about taking a continuous journey of improving the success rate of innovation. Too little perfectionism leads to a rapid but undesirable endpoint. Too much perfectionism leads to analysis paralysis and no endpoint at all. Striving for perfection is an asset to the implementation of an idea while at the same time it is perhaps a detriment to the idea's creation or prototyping. People, process, and technology & tools are all important components of developing innovation competency. Keep perfecting those success factors of innovation management in reaching the goals and visions continuously, but no need to be perfect if it stifles innovation.


Post a Comment