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Innovation process
 

Innovation process

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http://www.inventium.com.au/ ...

http://www.inventium.com.au/

Back in 2006, Inventium’s founder, Dr Amantha Imber was working as a consumer psychologist in a big advertising agency. The agency had put her through a lot of creative thinking training which she loved. However, when she started getting deeper into researching the field, she realised that all these training companies had done was rip off Edward de Bono techniques from the 70s and re-package them as their own. She thought that, ironically, this was pretty uncreative.

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    Innovation process Innovation process Document Transcript

    • p. +61 3 9018 7455f. +61 3 9528 4787m. +61 (0) 412 6565 38e. info@inventium .com .auPO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood,VIC, Australia 3184Inventiumhttp://www.inventium.com.au/Back in 2006, Inventium’s founder, Dr Amantha Imber was working as aconsumer psychologist in a big advertising agency. The agency had puther through a lot of creative thinking training which she loved.However, when she started getting deeper into researching the field,she realised that all these training companies had done was rip offEdward de Bono techniques from the 70s and re-package them as theirown. She thought that, ironically, this was pretty uncreative.
    • p. +61 3 9018 7455f. +61 3 9528 4787m. +61 (0) 412 6565 38e. info@inventium .com .auPO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood,VIC, Australia 3184Amantha had always been a bit of a science geek and kept reading thejargon-filled academic journals long after leaving university. She noticedthat there were hundreds, if not thousands, of studies being conductedaround the world that looked at what variables increased a person’sability to think more creatively and a company’s ability to innovate.However, she realised that there was a great divide between this greatresearch that was being done in the world of academia, and what wasactually getting used in the ‘real world’.So in 2007, she had the idea of starting a company that applied thescience of psychology and neurology to boosting creativity andinnovation - something that had never been done before. SinceInventium opened its doors, Amantha and her team, have helpedliterally thousands of people across Australia, the United States, the UK,Europe, Africa and New Zealand improve their ability to generate greatideas.
    • p. +61 3 9018 7455f. +61 3 9528 4787m. +61 (0) 412 6565 38e. info@inventium .com .auPO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood,VIC, Australia 3184Five ways to inspireinnovationOk, so you have identified the need toinnovate within your business ororganisation, but where on earth do youstart? Or perhaps you already have started,but you have hit a plateau and need toramp things up again? Whatever the case,here are five simple ways you can inspireyour team – and yourself – to innovate.First of all, make it challenging. No one evercame up with a great idea from being givena really simple task. Easy andstraightforward tasks do not breedcreativity. Likewise, when people arestressed and tearing their hair out, it is notlikely to will come up with any great ideas.Make sure that both you and your team feelsignificantly challenged by the problemsand projects you are working on. Whenhumans feel challenged they naturally liketo solve these challenges, and when an easyanswer does not immediately present itself,that is our moment for our creativity toshine.Second of all, give people a sense ofprogress. Research employee motivationand engagement and learn how theseimpact on innovation and performance. Arecent study revealed that the majority ofmanagers wrongly believe recognition forgood work (either public or private) to bethe most important factor. However, themost important factor was revealed to beprogress. The study revealed that makingprogress was most frequently associatedwith high motivation, positive emotions andinnovation, more so than any otherworkday event. Managers should thereforeensure that they are provide goals thatenable progress to be made andacknowledged. As individuals, we shouldalso set ourselves small goals that we canwork and progress towards.Thirdly, provide autonomy. As a manager, itis incredibly tempting to tell people how toget from A to B, however, this temptationmust be resisted as it completely killsinnovation. If you simply tell people how tosolve problems, they will lack themotivation to come up with better solutionsthemselves. Instead, ensure people are
    • p. +61 3 9018 7455f. +61 3 9528 4787m. +61 (0) 412 6565 38e. info@inventium .com .auPO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood,VIC, Australia 3184clear on the problem that has to be solved,and give them the room to explore howthey can get from A to B. When people haveautonomy and flexibility, they come up withsignificantly more innovative solutions.Fourth, you must encourage assumptioncrushing. Think about whenever you arefaced with a problem to solve, there isalways a bunch of assumptions sitting in theback of your head. These relate to thingsyou automatically assume to be true aboutthe problem, however, the bad thing aboutthese assumptions is that they effectivelyput up a fence in our brain that limitsthinking from moving beyond that point.Inspire people to come up with moreinnovative solutions to problems byidentifying and then crushing theassumptions they have by askingthemselves, “What if the opposite wastrue?” By asking this question of everyassumption they make, they will get tosome very inventive solutions.Finally, provide clear problems andopportunities for people to solve. Thismight sound a bit obvious, but feworganisations do this well in regards toinnovation. Asking people to submit any oldidea into a suggestion box will result in astack of ideas that are completely offstrategy. To ensure time spent oninnovation and idea generation is asproductive and efficient as possible, makesure you spend time defining the keyproblems and opportunities that you wantyour team to innovate around. This meansthat the ideas you receive will complementthe overall business strategy.How to overcome“Team-think”Most of us have been a victim of groupthinkat some stage in our working lives. If youhave been sitting with the same team forthe past year, you’ve probably also becomea victim of ‘team-think’.This happens a lot in companies that dealwith similar problems for their variousclients. I work with several advertising andmedia agencies and often the key issue formany of their clients is generatingawareness for their products. When the
    • p. +61 3 9018 7455f. +61 3 9528 4787m. +61 (0) 412 6565 38e. info@inventium .com .auPO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood,VIC, Australia 3184agency tries to generate ideas on how to dothis, the strategies tend to revolve aroundthe same few media channels, such as TV,print and outdoor campaigns, or creating aviral video and posting it on YouTube.Research suggests that teams which havebeen together for a while develop a set ofentrenched assumptions, ways of doingthings and set patterns of behaviour. Thegood news is there is a cure: introducing anew member to the team. Studies showthat when a new member joins a team,existing assumptions, attitudes andbehaviours are far less likely to beactivated. The new person triggers newthoughts and behaviours.While it can be tempting to leaveharmonious teams alone, rotatingemployees around to different teamsregularly, say every 6–8 months, canconsiderably enhance creativity.When I run idea-generation sessions forclients, I almost always insist they invitepeople who do not work for their company.I encourage them to include as diverse amix of people as possible. For example, inone workshop for a national postal servicesorganisation, we had the artistic director ofa circus troupe, a creative director from anadvertising agency, an 18-year-olduniversity student and a TV host. Needlessto say, the ideas generated in the workshopwere wonderfully varied.So, rather than try to think creatively onyour own, try to partner up with someoneyou don’t normally work with. Use them asa springboard for fleshing out your ideasand let them go in directions you wouldn’tif you were working on your own. Mostimportantly, listen to their input and beopen to going in directions you would notnormally.Creativity lovesboundariesLetting your mind wander wherever itneeds to, starting with a blank canvas andbeing free of rules are all consideredconducive to creativity? However, the latestpsychological research has shown thecomplete opposite.
    • p. +61 3 9018 7455f. +61 3 9528 4787m. +61 (0) 412 6565 38e. info@inventium .com .auPO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood,VIC, Australia 3184In one study, a group of adults was asked tomake a construction using Lego. One groupwas given no constraints; they were toldthat they could build whatever they liked.The other group had several constraintsplaced upon them; they were told that theirconstruction must contain no right-angledjoints and they could only use one kind ofbrick.The constructions built by the ‘constraints’group were judged to be significantly morecreative and lateral than those in the ‘freeexpression’ group.So why does this happen? When completingtasks, we typically draw on what we knowrather than seeking new ideas and opinions.Often, information retrieval becomesautomated in our brains because it is usefuland saves us having to come up with newsolutions every time we face a problem. Inother words, when we are assigned a taskto complete, our brains switch intoautopilot if it is a familiar problem.However, this autopilot mode dramaticallyimpairs performance when we have to thinkof completely novel ideas. Constraining theway we think forces us to search for newand creative ways of completing the task orsolving the problem. In a paradoxical way,putting constraints on our tasks lifts theconstraints on our thought processing.Here are a couple of tips to help apply thesefindings:- Try to avoid taking on tasks that areopen-ended and overly broad. If you findyourself in this situation, challenge yourselfto apply a constraint to the task to makeyourself perform more creatively.- Whenever you feel yourself going intoautopilot, ask your boss to apply aconstraint to the task (or do it yourself).