Kick starting your innovative brain for the new year


Are you an inventor or an innovator?

Whilst I believe that having creative ideas is really important we must remember that they won’t necessarily lead directly to innovation. Innovation counts for a whole lot more than just being creative; it is about bringing an idea to life and making it into a commercial reality, it could be about cutting costs, finding new and more efficient ways to do things, identifying new revenue streams or market spaces. Whichever way you fancy it, real innovation must add value and deliver impact. You can be as creative as you like but if you can’t identify how your idea can add value or deliver impact, then it’s just an idea. But without creative ideas, innovation can never exist. Sometimes it’s helpful to think about this in two parts, invention & innovation.

Invention =  The creative idea. A brand new idea. A new spin on an old idea, a new perspective, a new way of doing something or solving a problem or addressing a need.

Innovation = The realisation & impact of an invention, of that new idea. This is about making it real and making it happen. It’s about delivering real impact. This part is often commercial but not always.

It’s important to remember that creatively plays a role on both sides of the equation. We need to be creative at every step of the ideas process.  By implementing an ‘ideas process’ you can start to structure the way you generate ideas; and perhaps more importantly, the way you evaluate and start to implement those ideas. I’ll go through this ‘ideas process’ in more detail in a further post but for those of you with the impatience & attention span of a newt, here’s the short-hand version ::

The Ideas Process

1. Prepare: Find every stimulus material and tool you need, to effectively come up with ideas.
2. Create: Build as many ideas as possible.
3. Incubate: Take a holiday from your ideas and you allow your ideas to cook and simmer in your subconscious for while.
4. Adjudicate: Evaluate your ideas to determine which are the best.
5.  Act: Take action on your best ideas and turn them into realities.

So . . given the above definition, do you stop at Stage # 2 or do you go full steam ahead to Step # 5?

Are you an inventor or an innovator?