Innovation – a state of mind?

Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a team that comes up with all the great ideas. This requires a dedication to the field they work within, someone who fills their head with work also after work. This is a tricky part of talent recruiting and management, and a tricky thing to motivate towards and train in people. But for sure worth the effort when successful. Of all the brilliant people I have meet trough my career, one thing can be sure. The people with mind blowing ideas, also has their mental habits wrapped around the topic all day.

You probably know the myth of innovation as a sudden flash of insight that comes from nowhere. We read about that “aha” moment, or that light bulb turning on in the mind of some inventor or innovator, and this is true to an extent. Einstein really did get flashes of insight while shaving in the morning. However, he was of course working on the particular problems he had insight into, and he didn’t suddenly have ideas for new kitchen gadgets or movie plots.

Einsteins innovations, in other words, no matter how “sudden” the original ideas were, came from past and present mental work. It is like a singer who works at his craft for ten years and then becomes an “overnight success.” Innovative people only have “sudden” new ideas because they have habitually worked and thought in certain ways for some time. If you want to become an innovative thinker, then, why not start cultivating those mental habits? You dont have to be a great innovator to start, but to become one you have to start thinking of your ideas.

Mental Habits Lead To Innovation

Problems can be opportunities. “Problem” may have a negative connotations, such as being a hassle or stressful, but any problem can lead to an innovation that improves our lives. Not knowing the time lead to clocks small enough to put on our wrists. Nasty diseases lead to sanitary sewer systems. Start looking for opportunity in every problem. Even a mundane problem like not having enough storage space could lead to a new innovation. You may just build a plywood floor in the attic, but you could invent a new type of outdoor storage unit.

Same goes for any problem, give it some creative thinking. Many of you who would come in here and read, maybe have a problem within your company. The complexity of today’s world is only increasing and it will continue to increase at a even faster rate. New technologies shake todays business world and many are shaken off the stage and disrupted away by others. Well this is a problem for many, but if you mange to see the opportunities within these problems. Then it is actually not a problem at all, it is a big opportunity for most. Start ups thrive these days, it have never been greater opportunities, maybe todays business need to learn a thing or two from the startup methodology and mentality?

Innovation begins with understanding the key elements. Metal, wood or glass are not key elements of a door to an innovator. A way to get in, a way to keep others out – these are key elements. Begin with these, and soon you’re imagining new ways to make a door. You could design a door that is opened by your voice (nice when your hands are full), or one that shuts and locks itself when anyone else approaches. Think of the key elements in things.

Attitude helps innovation. The creative problem-solving technique of concept-combination involves combining two ideas to see what new idea or product results. The crucial point is that you assume there will be a useful new idea. Starting with that assumption, your mind will work overtime to produce something. A shoe and a CD have nothing to do with each other, but it took just a minute to imagine a CD player with headphones that only plays the music correctly if a jogger maintains his ideal pace. When you assume there is something there you’ll often find something.

Playfulness helps innovation. A playful mind is a creative mind, and while high cognitive intelligence or high IQ as many would say, or any other forms of intelligence for that matter. Doesn’t correlate with creativity, put it together with playfulness, and you have an Einstein. Remember, he imagined himself riding on a beam of light in order to arrive at his theory of relativity. Why not start playing with ideas and things, in your mind and in your surroundings. Innovation should be fun.

Carry your ideas with you, enjoy the playfulness of thinking. Remember to take notes 🙂

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