Innovation is a key component of a business. For a business to grow appropriately, the key decision markers and business managers have to think innovatively and creatively. The benefits of innovation on business are already well-documented, so there isn’t really any need to go over it again. In any case, you can read about them here.
How exactly can you think innovatively? Here are a few tips:
- Clear your head: This should be the first thing you do. Make sure you are relaxed and do not feel pressured. The best ideas are formed in a relaxed and calm atmosphere. If you find it hard to stay calm or keep a clear head, you can complete some relaxing activities like taking a walk while listening to calming music, preferably classical. It works for me and should work for you too.
- Ask questions: ‘Curiosity kills the cat’ a common phrase. But this does not work when it comes to business. Prime your mind to observe, inquires, question and understand concepts around. Remove any constraints that might inhibit your inquisitive nature. Challenge old ways of doing things and try to imagine new ways that they can be done.
- Increase your exposure: Make sure to put yourself in a position where you will be able to observe a wide variety of things. Never assume that any knowledge is useless. Note that ideas are usually birthed from other ideas. Henry Ford got his idea of the assembly line technique of mass production from observing a meatpacking plant. The more exposure you have, the more likely you’re going to pick up ideas for your ideas.
- Be imaginative: You should be creative. Don’t squash that random idea that comes to you prematurely. Allow your imagination run wild. Think of ways things can be done differently. You can follow some tips to boost your creativity.
- Exceed boundaries: Don’t feel caged or forced to follow the status quo. Be ready to think outside the box. Learn to deal with and learn from past failures; be ready to take risks to find out what works and what does not.
- Welcome feedback: Ask for people’s opinions and ideas and gather these to come up with a better idea for your venture. Also, feedback is important to know if a current idea you implemented would be a hit. Never disregard this.
- Run brainstorming sessions: This can be done individually or in a group, although it is usually more effective when done in a group. This would involve coming up with a large number of new product ideas. Make sure to have people from diverse backgrounds if you plan to have a group brainstorming session. You will be better served if you include a provocative outsider, like a consumer or supplier.
- Adapt old solutions for new problems: You could do this by applying an existing product to a new need available. You could look for new uses of your product. For instance, De Beers produced industrial diamonds but found a new use for diamonds when they introduced the concept of engagement rings. It opened up a large new market for them.
- Watch your competition: This does not mean to blindly follow whatever innovation they come up with. Instead, observe them intelligently. See if there are any of their ideas you can refine and adapt and even possibly license as your own. You can also acquire smaller profitable businesses if possible!
- Look outside: You can outsource your new project development to external companies to work on this. Company like Edumark Consult can help us engage actively within the education community. If that seems like a risk for you, you can ask individuals to come up with novel ideas for innovation. Countless big companies have been known to do this successfully.
- Go back in time: Look back at older business models and products. Try to ascertain which of these models can work for the present market. Be sure to refine it, however, to fit into the current market trends.
The tips above are in no way exhaustive of all the tips that can be used to improve innovative thinking. Also, not all of them might apply to your business model. Whatever the case, use the tips as a guide to building your business even further through innovation.