Six Hassle-Free Ways To Drive Innovative results
So many organisations and individuals want innovation, yet many are unaware that innovation is about being innovative. Innovation is not a noun, it’s a verb, it’s a way of doing and being. In fact, when we work with our clients, we are continually stressing that if you want innovation to happen in an organisation then you need to identify the observable, measurable innovation behaviours that you want to see. If we can’t measure it doesn’t exist.
While we have documented over 60 observable innovation behaviours that we help our clients implement, we’d like to share six of them. Six simple behaviours that you could draw up on a whiteboard. Simple enough, so that you can share with your team or to help prompt you to be more innovative.
Here’s six simple behaviours that we know will help you be more innovative:
1. Be…creative - Run an ideation session to help solve a problem.
When running an ideation session, it’s important to have rules in place. No slanging of ideas, no matter what. If you don’t like someone’s idea, add to it or improve it. Quantity overrides quality in the ideation. You can select your ideas after you have generated a truck load of ideas.
Give everyone a stack of colourful ‘Post It’ notes and get them to write down their ideas to a speciﬁc problem or focus area.
Use an ideation technique to help them generate the ideas. For example the ‘Combination & addition technique’ gets people to ask “What could we add or combine to help solve the problem or improve the situation?” Or we could use the ‘Elimination technique’ and ask “What could we remove or eliminate from the situation, or if we had to remove our key component how could we solve the problem or improve the situation?"
2. Be…collaborative - Pull in people from outside your network to help solve a challenge or give you a fresh perspective.
Many of the commercial insights and ideas we create for our clients that go onto becoming commercial successes have come from our differing perspective of the problem, product or service. Make sure to respect their time, be clear about what you want them to do, what background they might need, and make sure you don’t try to push your biases onto them.
3. Be…user friendly - Identify & list customer frustrations.
Customers have frustrations, loads of them, and yet we seem to gloss over them and give them names such as user errors. If a customer is making errors it’s because we’ve made it too difﬁcult or it’s not simple enough. We need to work harder to identify what those challenges are and make it simpler. A simple way to do this is imagine you have an 8 year old and an 85 year old customer using your product or service. Would they be able to use it without frustration? Is it pain free, intuitive, logical, familiar to them?
4. Be…a prototyper - Build, share & assess rapid conceptual prototypes.
Sharing an idea can work..sometimes, yet often people struggle to get the idea because it’s just an idea. Creating a prototype, a rough conceptual prototype gets people out of their head and wondering about what the intangible idea might be, to having a visual & physical conceptual prototype to consider. You can build a prototype to solve a question or problem, even better build two prototypes to look at options.
A prototype makes communicating an idea easier and faster. If people are understanding it and liking it, then you can build another more reﬁned prototype, and if they like that one, build another reﬁned prototype. Your mindset is to spend a little bit of time and money to build it, but to learn a lot from building it and sharing it. Spend a little, learn a lot. And yes, you can build a conceptual prototype for anything - from a new accounting process to a new induction program, rapid concept prototyping will help.
5. Be…a story teller - Share your innovation stories.
Stories are the currency for communication and as so many behaviouralists will say, it is one of the keys to behaviour change. We all have stories and narratives in our minds as well as in our organisation. If we want to be innovative and we want others to innovate, then we need to tell ourselves and others stories that echo that sentiment. Stories that talk about speciﬁc observable measurable innovative behaviours, layered with emotion to create a resounding ‘why’ we need to and want to innovate. If you don’t have any stories yet, start to look for them. You’ll be surprised how many you can ﬁnd once you start looking. Once you ﬁnd them, start sharing them and see what happens.
6. Be…a decoder - Chunk bigger issues into groups of smaller chunks.
We live in a world of complexity. Every day we seem to ﬁnd another new piece of technology we need to master, a new problem to solve, an ever more complex set of constraints or challenges to solve. Decoding the complexity of an issue into smaller chunks, not only reduces the level of stress we might have around a challenge, it also enables us to solve the problem faster. The innovative thinker, often ﬁnds the solution to the whole problem by identifying the smallest component of the problem. Chunk things down and see how much easier the problems solving becomes.
We really hope this helps you take your innovation to the next level. Happy Holidays.
Founder of Ideas with Legs | Innovation speaker | consultant | author