Where Ideas Come From: Be a visitor!….

island_cruise5_smallWhen you travelled to work this morning, assuming it’s a route you’ve taken regularly, what did you notice? Did you see the people? Did you notice the beautiful Georgian architecture or wonder about the inhabitants of the 1970s concrete office tower? Chances are your route is so familiar that you really don’t notice anymore. Our brains are so overloaded with information that, for efficiency, we automatically ignore what is routine.
Our everyday environment can be a bountiful source of ideas but to see them we need to change our perspective and start acting like a visitor. A study in 2009 showed that students who lived abroad were significantly more likely to to solve a difficult creativity problem than those who had never left their birth country. Those who travel widely develop their observation skills.
Imagine you are taking your route for the first time… what would change? Is there an alternative route that would be more interesting? Observe others…what causes them frustration? Often we become used to things that initially caused us irritation. A fund of ideas can arise when we come across something that doesn’t quite work but instead of saying ‘it should be fixed’ say ‘how would I fix this?’. Take it further and figure out what resources you need or who you could get involved to improve things…..is the ticket machine in the wrong place at the station ? It’s possible that a 5 minute email to the right person could fix the problem eliminating years of stress. Or you might end up working with a local university to develop a brand new turnstile system. Or it may come to nothing….but with all these options you are now an active participant in your environment! So how about setting yourself an ideas quota? Your goal is ten in one day. To quote Tom and David Kelley of Ideo in the book ‘Creative Confidence’ …”part of what makes venture so business savvy -and ultimately so successful- is that they see a lot more ideas than ordinary people”
After all the best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas!

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Using Disruption to achieve Growth

Following on from the my post recently, about what is your passion and your vision, unless you as a business entity do something different or has a differential approach to that of  your competitors, you will be swallowed up in the medium of blandness. Companies need to have a clear vision of why they are different to their competitors, why do you exist (your passion) in business?

In his new book The Innovator’s Manifesto, Michael Raynor, co-author with Clayton Christensen of the bestseller The Innovator’s Solution, argues that disruption theory (which explains how fringe ideas come to redefine entire markets) is not only a useful idea — it stands alone in actually predicting future success.

Christensen describes two different kinds of business innovation:

• Incremental Innovation, in essence building on your existing products, bring this new model to market , incremental, year-to-year improvements. We are all familiar with these, our new motorcar is incrementally better than the previous. This is most apparent in the reams of technological products.

• Disruptive innovation brings to market a product that is simple and more affordable. It takes root in a small niche but eventually reaches mainstream. These may be radical in their operation or completely new  to the market, and may meet an unmet demand. Think of Steve Jobs and the ipod, 10,000 songs in your pocket.

Traditionally, innovation management was handled as follows:

1. Variation: Start with lots of ideas.

2. Selection: Try out as many of your ideas as you can, to see what works.

3. Retention: Stick with the successes and abandon the failures.

However, says Raynor, success is more likely if you focus on the disruptive ideas, shape them, and then stick with them. You have first moved advantage, but you may not rest on this, as many of first movers have been swallowed up and left by those that follow, observe and do better.

1. Focus: Go where the money isn’t. Focus efforts on those markets and technologies that target un-served or over-served segments.

2. Shape: Seek ‘creative creation’. By serving profitable segments that incumbents see as inconsequential, new businesses can create a valuable foothold. Then, by building businesses around ‘enabling technologies’ –elements that allow performance to improve over time – entrants can move from that foothold to mainstream dominance.

3. Persist: Don’t fail fast, learn fast. Learning demands persistence: the willingness to stick with something despite early setbacks.

Contact us, we can assist you with your Innovation Challenges brian [at] id8.ie

Culture of Change

My thoughts today for this blog, is of the resistance to change, fear of collaborating together in case we loose out by an enterprise.

I experienced first hand recently that fear of collaborating with others for the greater good, an increased slice of business, footfall and helping out with a collective town spirit. I help out with a farmers market, the basic rung on the ladder for many artisan craft and food startup’s or those that wish to just earn a few bob from their passion. Traders use it to do basic market research and market awareness;  do you like my product, are you a repeat customers, what suggestions do you have? and more besides, in essence, let the market decide, economics 101.

I believe that with collaboration, the sum of the parts is lesser than that of the whole, 1+1=2 1/2 or greater.

I was informed by others in the committee that the market was causing problems by its location and occurance on the main shopping day, that we would have to move to another location and or shut down. We looked at other locations, a street offers only so many opportunities for a street market, and with Health & Safety in my mind, none were suitable that didn’t cause us further objections or increased our risk profile. Our only recourse was to reduce our stands, profile, display.

Subsequently it has emerged that as we were the shaded side of the street, the farmers market brought forth shoppers to ‘our side’, and that other shops had benefited from increased footfall, takings and were happy for us, we brought variety, passing trade and the street looked busy and alive.

Bring this back to an area that we work in – co-opetition ‘collaborating with your competition for the greater good’.

Think about Alessi (Italy) and the Lombardy Region in Italy which it is based, there are many design craft organisation’s in this area, who in olden days would see each other as competition for resources, customers and the bottom line. Today they collaborate together, form cooperatives, share experiences and generate greater wealth, knowledge, market share combined than could do individually.

Could you consider this

with your network of contacts ?  probably so
with those who you compete with? that is your challenge today

Spend some time thinking about it, is it worth a doodle, a telephone call, a coffee, a chat ?

Innovation the IDEO Way


Innovation the IDEO Way

Today we attended a seminar on Innovation, Design Thinking and the IDEO way. IDEO are a San Francisco based organisation that specialise in designing new concepts for clients and have develop their own methods accordingly. They celebrate the success of succeeding, And learn from their mistakes, perhaps even celebrate a little.

It is better to fail often to succeed quicker.

The Ideo Way is a process to understand the client brief, perform customer research, brainstorm, design concepts, trial and feedback into better products.

  • Set up your goals
  • Problem – establish the current situation of the problem
  • Customer research – survey the entire value chain of your product/service/process
  • Share the information found with others in your team
  • No Solution discussed, state the facts
  • Deep Dive – Brainstorming each areas that was highlighted by customer research
  • No critism, self censorship or bad ideas tolerated
  • Vote for ideas
  • Categorise Views, to refelect areas or needs establisthed earlier
  • Prototype – one of a kind to visualise the concept, by focused teams
  • Combine these into a design
  • Celebrate having a concrete product that people can visualise
  • Review with the customer for feedback
  • Take feedback and review product to understand if any greater improvement can be gained