Browsing Posts tagged innovation

Compass, strategic plannig conceptChanging your environment can drastically improve your ability to discover innovative ideas.  If you work in an office most of the day, your work distractions will likely inhibit your ability to think creatively.  Unless you leave your office, it is difficult to get away from phones, email notifications, people stopping by with questions, and the pile of projects on your desk that remind you how many things need your attention.

Getting a change of scenery can eliminate or reduce many of those distractions to give your mind some “creative space.”  Here are a few ways you can change your environment to spark some innovations.

1. Inside/Outside – If you spend most of your time inside, go outside.  This can be as simple as going for a walk, or may involve driving to a park or other outside location.  Do something that lets your mind forget about the distractions you leave behind in your office.  If, instead, you work outside, try going indoors as a change of environment.  You can pick a quiet location, such as a library or museum, or pick a location with lots of activity, such as a coffee shop, restaurant or shopping mall.

2. Quiet/Noisy – If you work in a noisy environment, go find a quiet environment for some creative thinking.  Some people thrive in a quiet environment and identify many new ideas.  Other people actually prefer a noisy environment.  Many innovators have told me that they generate their best ideas at busy coffee shops.  They believe that the activity level and noise helps stimulate their creative energy.  Experiment with both quiet and noisy environments to see which works best for you to develop innovative ideas.

3. Active/Relaxed – If you spend much of your time at a desk or other inactive position, change your environment by increasing your activity.  This may include going for a walk, exercising, riding your bike or taking a drive in your car.  The activity will be a new stimulus for your innovative thinking.  However, if you are active most of the time, take a break and sit down.  This lack of activity can help you relax and think about new ideas for your business.

4. Creative Environment – Regardless of where you work, consider moving to a creative environment to help support your creative thinking.  Creative environments include locations that display creative works, such as an art gallery, a museum or outside area that displays artistic sculptures.  If an art gallery or museum is not convenient, look through a book containing pictures of art or other creations.  Creative environments may also include a place where kids are playing – watch the kids and see how many creative ideas they use to make new games, sing songs, and create their own artwork.

Take a break from your usual environment and spend some time creating innovative business ideas.  Keep track of the environments that allow you to be most creative, and revisit those environments regularly.

Please share your favorite “innovation environment” in the comments below.

I’m sure your initial reaction to the question “Is Blogging Innovative?” may be “No, blogging has been around forever.”  However, I believe the answer varies depending on the industry.

Although many businesses and industries with a strong online presence have been using blogs for many years to provide information and interact with their clients and customers.  But, businesses in many industries are not actively using blogs.

For example, Bentley Tolk recently explained that blogging is still considered “cutting edge” for many law firms and lawyers.  Bentley teaches law firm marketing via Social Media and New Media.  He discussed the topic of blogging for lawyers in an episode of his podcast.  (Listen here:  http://legalmarketinglive.com/why-lawyers-should-blog-legal-marketing-live-004)

So, the answer to whether blogging is still innovative:  Yes.  If you are one of the first to use blogging in your market, you are an innovator in your industry.  A great way to innovate your business is to apply successful practices (such as blogging) in other industries to your own company.

Even if others are already blogging in your market, look at successful blogging practices by other companies (in any market) and apply similar practices to your own blog.  There’s always room for innovation.

Innovation is commonly defined as “the introduction of something new” or “a new way of doing something”.  Many successful innovations improve on an existing product to make it faster, cheaper, or more efficient.  Other valuable innovations apply procedures and systems from one industry to another.

For example, Henry Ford is not credited with inventing the car nor did he invent the assembly line.  His innovation was to change the way cars were built by applying a moving assembly line (already in use in a different industry) to the automobile manufacturing process.  Thus, Ford’s innovation was the combination of an existing product (cars) with an existing procedure (the assembly line).  The moving assembly line developed by Henry Ford allowed individual workers to perform specific tasks while the vehicles moved along the assembly line, which greatly improved efficiency.  The moving assembly line reduced the time required to build each car, increased vehicle production levels and reduced the cost to manufacture each car.  Ford’s innovation of bringing the moving assembly line to the automotive industry allowed the company to sell more vehicles at a significantly lower cost, which distinguished it from other companies in the market that used less efficient manufacturing techniques.

Today’s Action Step:  Spend some time brainstorming about ways to innovate your business’ products or procedures.  Is there a particular unmet need in your market that your company can fill?  Are there procedures in other industries that can be adapted to your business to improve operations?  Write down your answers!

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