I have a friend Jim Carroll. He is a Futurist, Innovation Expert, and Keynote Speaker. He recently wrote an article for his blog at www.jimcarroll.com entitled “Innovation Oxygen”. He was thinking about my summit push to the top of Everest and thought that the metaphor applied to today’s challenging economy. He writes “It is no secret that we are in an economy that has become far more hurried, complex and uncertain. Things are changing at a furious pace out there - from the products we are selling, to the markets we are selling to, to the attitudes of the customers that we are dealing with. Not to mention challenges with business models, marketing, branding, customer service, new forms of competition -- and well, just about everything else!
Faster is the new fast!
In such an environment, a constant, relentless focus on innovative ideas might be the key to helping deal with rapid change. And through innovation, you may discover new opportunities.
This is the perfect time for every organization to put in place what I call "innovation oxygen." This involves establishing a culture where everyone is actively encouraged to test a new idea”.
In order to be innovative you must think “outside-the-box”, you must come up with new and unique ideas. When working with a sales group recently we spoke about innovation and how to get it. If all you are looking for is a small improvement you can likely just tweak your existing system to meet your goal. If you are looking for a total shift in your culture or to meet stretch goals you may need to bust your old system and develop a completely new one. This will take courage, trust, communication and leadership. It will also require an effective brainstorming session. Use the intellectual power of your team and gather the best ideas. Combine and modify and select the best option that will launch you into the future. Use a little “Innovation Oxygen”.
Here are some simple guidelines to think about when brainstorming:
1. Record all ideas offered
2. Defer judgement...let the ideas flow
3. Encourage wild and crazy ideas
4. Quantity counts...hear from everyone
5. Build on the ideas of others
6. Talk in brief headlines
7. Every person and every idea has equal value
8. Encourage one another
9. Have fun with it!