The first thing that comes to mind when the word innovation comes up is a revolutionary discovery. An invention that can change the world. Undoubtedly, light bulbs and smartphones are innovations, but the pizza was also once considered to be an innovation in poor Naples.
According to Design Thinking, innovation is “hidden” in the pile of unmet needs of the people. Smartphones meet the needs of people to be in constant communication. Easily connected to the Internet, keeping track of information through a gadget that can be carried in your pocket. The light bulb was invented after many unsuccessful attempts and iterations. Pizza was invented as fast and cheap food for the poor Neapolitans served at every street corner.
Innovative ideas don’t occur overnight. They are the result of curiosity, perseverance, and a deep understanding of people’s needs. Innovators are not people with superhuman qualities, but ordinary people who came up with brilliant ideas.
So, to be more innovative, we need to stimulate our curiosity, creativity and create new habits daily. Here are the three steps for increasing innovative capacity on a daily basis. Practice, iterate and repeat.
1. Change your surroundings.
Changing your home or office interior has a positive effect on the creative flow. Even small changes can boost creativity.
“New ideas arise from an interconnection of old ideas.
So that means, at the very least, you have to be exposed to a novel stimulus.”
– Robert Epstein, American Institute of Behavioral Research
For example, place flowers on your desk or rearrange the gallery wall. Making small changes every day to improve your mood and productivity can have an impressive effect. By implementing this approach, you will be innovating on daily basis, aiming to improve the quality of your work and life. Isn’t that what is innovation about? Creativity boosts innovation, and it is all about changing the way you think.
Taking small steps every day will surely lead to new, more creative ways of thinking and acting.
2. Practice problem-solving.
Search for the problem you are facing daily (for example you are facing a lack of light on your desk) and perform 10-minute brainstorming on how to solve this problem. You will come up with a dozen ideas and solutions, and then choose the best, most realistic solutions. Then, instead of giving up, implement the solution to the problem you discovered.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
– Albert Einstein
The human brain quickly adapts to new patterns, so seeing problems and solving them in quick steps will become a habit. And innovation is all about effectively solving people’s problems.
3. Get out of the routine.
Read a new book, magazine, watch a new documentary. Look for fun breakfast recipes on YouTube. Take a different route to work every day.
Why is this important?
“Creativity involves breaking out of expected patterns in order to look at things in a different way.”
Edward De Bono
Instead of moving through life on autopilot, routinely and without thinking, it is especially important to encourage the brain and body to cope with new, unfamiliar situations. That’s how we learn something new, acquire new skills, or simply learn to be present at the moment.
Searching for new ideas and ways of living and working daily increases creativity and problem-solving skills. In business, innovation is required for tackling challenges. Building a culture of constant innovation will benefit you long term.
For more creativity and inspiration, we recommend 2 books:
- Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative Thinking Techniques by Michael Michalko
- The Designful Company: How to build a culture of nonstop innovation by Marty Neumeier.