Innovation success – tip #4

Activities that deliberately introduce absurd ideas and different perspectives can help break you out of a conceptual rut.

The trouble with a lot of attempts at innovation is that the group remains firmly entrenched in conventional modes of thinking. The same people look at updated versions of the same research; posing the same questions but expecting – miraculously – different answers.

Here are four things you can do to help jolt your team out of conventional ways of thinking about your industry:

  • change the makeup of the team by inviting in outsiders with completely different perspectives. Invite in a circus clown, or a firefighter, to your ideation sessions. A school teacher or a surgical nurse. Just be sure they’re not like you! Sure, they won’t know thing one about all of the complexities of your world, but that freshness of perspective is exactly what you may be lacking
  • take a hard constraint and imagine it didn’t exist at all. Take it away completely and explore what things might now look like.
  • take two random insights and add them together. Treat them as though they represent a real, single insight. Start generating ideas.
  • pretend you live in Topsy-Turvy world. Everything you thought you knew is backwards. You don’t operate retail stores, you sell door-to-door; or completely online. You don’t operate a niche, premium service, you run a mass-market, commoditised service. Internet access is free, pervasive, and super-fast. Or perhaps your social network operates completely offline… Run with it for just a few minutes…

    You need to work hard to break out of a mental rut, especially one that’s deeply ingrained. Try these activities and give yourself a better chance.

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