October 29, 2014 / UNCOMMON
October 29, 2014
Designing disruptive, original solutions to existing problems and breakthrough products in existing markets is hard––really hard. To increase the odds of success, a company must think and act in uncommon ways. Take the time to step back and evaluate what’s working, what could be simplified and streamlined, and most importantly be open to change.
Our IMAGINE IF principle is dedicated to innovation and encouraging diverse thinking in business and life. We hope to inspire people, companies and brands to create and foster environments for innovation. Here are four UNCOMMON SENSE learnings to encourage innovation:
Don’t be afraid to think big
Innovation is hard, because it means finding new and original ways to solve a problem, or inventing something completely new. Don’t be afraid to have a bold vision. There will be barriers and people in the way, and the journey is laden with challenges, reasons to quit, and opportunities to take the easy way out. It takes incredible determination to think big and overcome the obstacles to success.
Do something new for the first time
In the search for what’s next, we often forget what “new” really feels like. Remind yourself what it feels like to experience something new for the very first time. Plan opportunities to do the sublime and the ridiculous for the first time. Challenge yourself to sky dive, jump into an improv class, start a garden, make a batch of kombucha, plan an InnovationFest, take an engine apart and put it back together or take a calligraphy class. Do something new for the first time, record and discuss the observations, and then share what you learned.
Think like a CEO and run like a startup
If the challenge is disruptive, put an agile, cross-functional team made up of the most unique and passionate people you can find. Make sure the challenge is crystal clear, then let the team design the best way to move forward. Spend more time on idea development and less time building presentations. Remove as many barriers to success as possible, and organize the team to operate like a hungry startup. Then put a sense of urgency, energy and competition into the innovation process.
Celebrate and communicate your successes
Innovation is hard for many reasons, and having the fortitude to keep swinging takes a combination of capability, commitment, courage, and communication. It's important to communicate regularly with humility and pride about the successes and the failures that you and your teams encounter.