Collaboration drives innovation because ideas always emerge from a series of sparks — never a single flash of insight. Are you one that believes that innovation and creativity can be learned? We are among that group. We also believe in suggestions to boost strategic innovation opportunities of your business through effective collaboration.
Through a series of sparks and not a single flash of insight.
Are you an innovative person? Problem-solver? Learner? All of the above? We consider ourselves in the group of all of the above. Our continuous goal? Obtaining the best innovation. And at the top of our focus areas? Studying and understanding the problem at hand.
Albert Einstein once said that if he had an hour to solve a problem, he’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions. That is our way of thinking. But not most people.
Creativity and innovation don’t often happen in a vacuum. As the author Steve Johnson says, chance favors the connected mind. When people are together, talking, laughing, thinking, exploring — they’re going to throw out ideas. These ideas trigger something in someone else’s mind, and it snowballs. Before long, this group of folks has developed an innovative solution that wouldn’t have been possible without the collective collaboration.
Don’t fall prey to the myth that only some people are innovative and you’re people are not of the chosen few. We are all innovative; it’s just a matter of figuring out in what way. So find things you’re curious about and are interesting to you, use your imagination a little, stay motivated and work at it, and surround yourself with others who are doing the same.
So how do you and your team boost innovation? Here are 10 suggestions we offer to boost innovation and improve your ability to exercise ideation within your team:
Strategic innovation … encourage risk-taking
Zappos as a company is known as much for its culture as for its innovative business model. The company has built a business that is growing rapidly by allowing individuals the freedom to take creative risks without that overwhelming sense of fear or judgment.
They tell their employees to say what you think, even if it is controversial. Make tough decisions without agonizing excessively. Take smart risks. Question actions inconsistent with our values.
Another interesting example: A software company in Boston gives each team member two “corporate get-out-of-jail-free” cards each year. The cards allow the holder to take risks and suffer no repercussions for mistakes associated with them.
At annual reviews, leaders question their team members if the cards are not used. It is a great way to encourage risk-taking and experimentation. Think this company comes up with amazing ideas and innovations? Absolutely.
Be a detective
Creatives and innovators always have enquiring minds. Are you and the team asking enough questions to get deeper and understand the problem as much as you can?
Strategic innovation examples … make quiet time
Most ordinary days of the average worker includes an enormous amount of multitasking. Multitasking is, of course, is very destructive to the time and space for good innovative thinking.
Set time aside for team members’ quiet time to stimulate and let the mind wander until ideas flow.
The phrases good enough, this has always worked, and this is all the time we have to devote to this problem, etc. are very destructive to team innovation.
Avoid these at all costs as they are enemy #1 to the best results.
Strategic innovation framework … foster autonomy
We all prefer control over our environments. According to a 2008 study by Harvard University, there is a direct correlation between people who have the ability to call their own shots and the value of their creative output.
An employee who has to run every tiny detail by her boss for approval will quickly become numb to the innovative process.
The act of innovation is one of self-expression. Granting autonomy involves extending trust. By definition, your team may make decisions you would have made differently.
The key is to provide a clear message of what results you are looking for or what problem you want the team to solve. From there, you need to extend trust and let them do their best work.
Try the quantity approach to new ideas. Use brainstorming to improve divergent thinking. Study and then connect ideas to get new ideas.
Add play to the equation
When looking for fresh new thinking to create more innovation, shake things up by adding some fun and play to the process. It always has the ability to shed the stress and pressure on a team
Explore new experiences
Open up your new idea of thinking. Do things in new and untried ways. Avoid the set ways of being innovative.
Our job as marketers is to do the hard work of finding and nurturing charismatic ideas we can be proud of. One place to start is to look at the ideas you’re trying to spread.
Consider whether they’re charismatic enough to earn the effort you’re putting into them–and if not, how to replace them with ideas that are.
Do as much experimentation as you can. Don’t worry about failures and allow the team to question any and all assumptions and consider even the craziest ideas.