Generating Ideas That Inspire

“The heart and soul of the company is creativity and innovation.”
(Bob Iger)

Bob Iger is of course speaking of Disney.  What about your company though?  Could you say that about your company?  Do you want to say that?  If you answered no to the former and yes to the latter, read on, I have some ideas for you…

Creativity and innovation are sure ways to grow your business.  Both help to keep you ahead of what your customers want or need.  And both help to keep you ahead of your competition.

At the heart of creativity and innovation is the ability to generate new ideas.  There is a lot of research out there about how to generate new ideas, ranging from the obvious to the not so obvious.  Below is a list for you to ponder.  Before you do that, though consider how to bring your whole company along in the process.  Not just management, but everyone in the company.  You might also consider inviting your best and biggest clients to weigh in with some thoughts.  The insight that your team members and clients bring will be invaluable and eye opening—that’s because they will be looking at it from a different perspective…

Generate new ideas by:

  1. Defining/redefining your avatar
  2. Creating a mood board—like a vision board but with random words/textures/ideas/colors that are intended to activate the visual side of your brain
  3. Going on an observation walk
  4. Asking your team to listen to some music and see how they think it can relate to new ideas
  5. Keeping a pain point journal—ask your team to write down challenges they encountered over the course of a week. Share ideas and use that as a basis for generating new ways of thinking and possible new solutions.
  6. Having key employees swap jobs for a period of time. Seeing what a person does differently from you can give you great perspective on a new way of doing things.

Beware of these creativity and innovation blockers:

  1. Micro managing
  2. Discouraging language—“We tried that and it didn’t work”
  3. Isolation – make sure that your different departments work in concert
  4. Perfectionism and analysis paralysis—instead, embrace failure as a learning experience

Remember that the best ideas come from the question why?  Why do we do this?  Why that way?  If you haven’t asked the question why in the past year, I invite you to do so now.

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Nancy Allen

Certified WBENC