Just how do you Innovate?
Here is the ABC's of how to innovate :
But first of all, what is innovation?
Innovation is the step where people take to offer an improved product, process or services. There are four main types of innovation which will be described below.
Most inventions are incremental in nature – so are innovations. It’s normally an improvement on a previous version because it is easily achieved by making it more efficient. Moreover it is easier to sell because you only need a little tweak to your sales pitch.
Sustaining innovations is the least impacting as it only makes a slight difference in the performance of a product or service. But it is easily done and the boys at the R&D love it because not much thinking is expended. However it also makes the marketing department sweat as you can only do so much about a product that has almost similar characteristics and thus marketing boredom.
Disruptive types are often rare and they only appear once in a while and often unnoticed at the early stage. Disruptive innovations often come as a surprise and it is normally due to the work of people who had wished that they can surprise people with their new creation. Disruptive innovation is closely associated with people who want to swim against the crowd – and thus contrarian in nature.
Although Radical Innovation goes in the same vein as disruptive innovation, it is however different in that it normally uses revolutionary technology or with a new business model. Radical innovation is like the introduction of the internet – it drives a new way of doing everything thus revolutionary in nature. And in most probability disrupts the whole system.
Your Bible to How to Innovate
* First,choose the sector that you want to innovate - architectural, radical, incremental, disruptive. Then determine as to how you want to improve a product or a service - then try to copy from others. Surely we are not suggesting that you go and copy others but it is the first step on your journey to do innovation. It is always good to take a look at others and from there you will have an inkling of idea as to what to do. Of course it is not good to be a copy cat but then some of the most sucessful e-commerce entrepreneurs are copy cats. However, we would advice you not to do an exact copy cat but try to use other people's design as a first draft. You will then need to evolve it according to the market demand - perhaps even making it stand out as an innovation of sorts - copying has its merits.
If you were given a chance to do business, what would you want to do? Well, you would want to give serious thoughts to it before deciding what to do. But seriously, would you want to jump into a business where everybody is doing - such that you would have to compete with every Tom, Dick and Harry! Well, if you do not want to spend your time fighting with the other guys out there then you will need to be Innovative - yes, innovation will make the crowd smaller. We will now like to share with you the knowledge of how to innovate.
Doing Market Research First
Before you do any innovations, it is best that you do a thorough market research about the product or service that you intend to go into. Don’t ever go into a market that you will regret later where time and resources are wasted in pursuing the wrong objective. Preferably market research should be done by a third party so as to avoid being bias – give your third party a wide berth to cover things that you might not be aware of. Market researching might lead you to new entities that would encourage you to innovate along those lines – a good spend on market research will give you added insights that you might want to pursue at a later date. Since we are all belonged to global market, it would be best to also locate different entities to co-operate with – new partners often bring with it added insights and co-operation. Market research should be done as a constant exercise to enable market lead – you should not remain in your particular silo just to avoid being not relevant to the market.
* Now, go and visualize how do you want to go about it - remember that the world owes its progress to dreamers like yourself and the power of visualization will determine as to how it will work. Great inventors visualize all the time - improves with practice.
Visualization is an art and in order that you do well in it, you must be ready to practice during the hours that are partly sleeping and partly waking – sounds difficult to attain but you will need a lot of practice. The reason why you need to visualize during your half waking hour is because your unconscious mind will help you to enforce it during your deep sleep moment – of course if you are the type that you can’t remember your dream then it is harder to make good of it. The other thing is that you must make your visualization move – there must be movement like that of your cartoon character chasing after the dough. And most of all, you must visualize it to make it good for you. It must be positive – the more the better. But if you are the negative kind, then it is necessary to tweak yourself to the positive before anything else. Frankly speaking, if you are more on the negative side, then you will need to do motivation sessions to bring you to the plus side of thing.
Another method of upping your visualiztion technique is to go to the image section of your search engines and - browse and think! Just pick on one of the images that fancied you and start imagine about it. Try to make it move in your mind - you will need good imagination to do this. And you can fantasise about it moving its parts and so forth. If that is not enough to make you fantasise then go to the video section - there is more action there and that is good for your visualization exercise. Do it as a daily routine and before long you will have the power of imagination like no other - trust that you will be good at fantasising. Computer Animation Games will be another where you can pick up your visualization prowess but you will have to be careful not to be too engrossed into it as it can be addictive - you might waste your time thinking that it would do you good as far as visualization is concerned.
Fantasising & Day Dreaming
Yet another way to up your visualization power is to fantasize. In fact you can't be doing creative thinking without fantasising - you will need to think over the roof. Fantasising is an art and have to be a dreamer - ask Walt Disney and he will tell you that he was fortunate to have day dreaming all his life! Fantasising helps your brain to see things in motion inside your head - it is the first step to be creative and innovative at the same time. Love of cartoon movie will bring you a step closer to be creative but you need to practice good day dreaming even if it does not lead you to anything. You will make good fantasising when you are challenged - when you were to be asked to help innovate.
Sketching is a form of innovation - that is where you begin doing your innovation thing
Designers always put pen on paper first, not words but images– the kind that helps to build up how things work. And as you build up your image, you will also put a note of how that particular part works – and if you are good at solid works, then you make a 3D representation of the work. Everybody can do sketching because they did in school but everyone is comfortable with doing animation – an animated object is always a better choice when you want to present it. Inventors rely on doing sketches to solidify their ideas without which they would be confused with the many aspects of their invention. Needless to say, sketches are the beginning of transferring your ideas into words if you were to file for patents – it is unfortunate that the patent office does not accept animated objects. But if you were to present your inventions to buyers, then you will do better to include some form of animations as buyers will be able to grab the idea better and faster.
Brainstorm 2.0 - brainstorming done the right way
Brainstorming done the wrong way!
Every corporate leader knows about how to do brainstorming because they learn it during their younger days. But it is usually not the right way – you bring in a team and ask them to give solution to a problem -don't you think you are expecting too much! Brainstorming is a good way to gain answers to a problem but the way that is conducted is wrong because among the team not everyone is comfortable with coming up with a solution. Some are really shy about their answers especially with those who are not well versed with technology and they are usually the one who stayed mum for lack of confidence. Then again it is not conducive to come up with a solution on demand – as people are usually summoned to meet to give solution to a problem. People will just freeze out when it comes to their turn to speak, it is just not conducive. Rather, people will be more comfortable if you ask them to go back and think about and then come back at a later date to discuss further. Yes, brainstorming should be done only when people are given time to think about it because ideas are not for the command. Ideas will evolve while you are at leisure doing something else – ever heard of serendipity! So the best way to do brainstorming is to allow a period of time for digestion and thence come back prepared for discussion; call up an unexpected meeting so that people don’t have to angst about the dateline, and treat it as a coffee meet.
Another alternative is brain noting where you ask the team to jot down on a piece of paper of their idea. However, it is not easy to communicate your idea by just putting in a few words and perhaps with a rough sketch – you will need to do a presentation. And the best way is to construct a PowerPoint presentation – one with graphics and perhaps even an animation! This is especially useful for those who are shy as they would feel crumbled when the rest of the vociferous member come charging in with their negative comments. Then again you also have that adage that "too many cooks spoil the soup" thing, so how you command (as a team leader) the brainstorming or brain noting session will determine whether you get good results from it. People are difficult to handle and when you have a group (who are of different dispositions) – there is no telling what will be the outcome. However there is a psychological point to say that intelligent people often work alone as they will be able to better focus on the subject – so don't do team session when you can't help it.
Novel & Contrarian
The world is truly bored with the same thing wherever you look – the result of uninspiring developments. You see one tall building and you can assume that the rest are the same – that is what is in your mind. The reason why everything looks the same is because it is easy to copy what others have done. In the corporate environment, it is the same but not because it is easy to copy but because nobody would want their career to be put on jeopardy by thinking different. However it is not the same with innovation and ideas because there is a plus point in thinking different and contrarian – but the management must be daring to accept these out-of-this-world ideas. In the design world, being novel is not a given as it is hard to come by – that is why we have patents. But it is easy to be slightly novel as you only need to twist it a bit and that is all it makes. To be a contrarian, you need to be proud of it, not to mention that you can’t easily succumb to being ridiculed. It is good for innovators to be contrarian – in fact that is where you select your team to do innovations. And being always novel as a trait, that is a plus point that is difficult to nail – one in a thousand people thing.
* You might make good progress if you are knowledgeable about how things work. Otherwise you might have to learn about it from the internet - just a click away. If you have some queries from your mind and if you are sure of what you don't know then the first place to go and find the answer is the internet - go to googles patent and key in the keyword that you want to find info. It will give you plenty to think about - don't waste your time on anything else!
We are talking about searching for something to spark a solution – searching in the internet with the right keyword. In order to do a proper searching, you need to have a good command of the language otherwise you would not be able to search the right thing. But you also need to have a proper understanding of the right keyword otherwise you would fail to find what you want. And when we are talking about the right keyword, we will also need to use a combination of words to enlarge our scoop – and in order to have a good combination of keywords we must have a good command of the language which for most of us is lacking in the department. Sigh! But not all are lost for you can always count on someone else’s to help around. Indeed it is good to have another opinion on your project least you could easily run off course without realising it. You will often be taken aback by another's opinion as not everybody think alike - that is where you will get the spark for a new idea!
* Then more refining of the product or services including as to how it will perform in the real world - some comparisons is inevitable. Now for whatever product or service that we are designing, we would need to have it relate to the real world happenings. You must have been aware that there are plenty of ideas coming from the academia which do not relate to anything in the real world – think of sitting aloof and dabbling with Rubik’s Cube in the silver tower! So you must remember that you are employed in the real world and for that you will need to look at the real world thing – you got to find the problem first or you will need to forego your meals. Getting to talk with industry people should be top most in your mind for now. And don't forget to question as to why things work. However getting somebody’s ear is another thing altogether – it is another form of Facebook or LinkedIn!
* Get some opinions from a third party but be careful as to not give away the whole story.
* Then more refinement until you are satisfied that your product works - which will lead to a prototype (you must have the courage to do one). Working on the prototype will give you new ideas and problems but if you were to persevere, then you will get to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Well, that is the ABC of how to go about innovating. The trick is in your ability to VISUALIZE. That is also how our team of inventors/innovators do their idea sparking - and you too can.
And if after all the tips have been digested and you unable to innovate, then it would be better to leave innovation issue to us at Innovation as a service | Innovation on Demand