8 Easy Ways to Be Innovative | Inc.com

2 01 2013

8 Ways to Be Innovative (Even if You’re Not)

Can’t be creative on demand? Not many people can. Fortunately, it’s a skill you can improve.

Trying to be innovative is, at least for most people, nearly impossible.

Don’t believe me? Try it. Right now. Think of something innovative. Come up with something new and different. I’ll try it too.

Back so soon? Don’t feel bad; I was back long before you.

Creativity isn’t a switch most of us can turn on at will, so the key to being innovative is to view a problem from a different perspective. Necessity is the mother of innovation, so creating a little artificial necessity automatically stimulates creativity.

Here are easy ways to flip your innovation switch:

1. Imagine the worst that could happen.

What if you lose your biggest customer? What if your industry tanks? What if a major competitor enters your market?

The answers could uncover unexpected opportunities or lead to changes in your overall strategy.

2. Play the “Why?” game.

Five Whys is a standard tool in the root cause analysis toolkit; the premise is to ask “why?” at least five times to hopefully find the real reason for an error.

But you don’t have to wait for a mistake. Pick a current practice or approach and ask yourself why you do it. Then keep asking why you do it. The more times you ask “why?” after each answer the more likely you are to start to see things in a new way.

3. Pretend you just ran out of money.

Solid cash flow is great, but a steady stream of revenue or a decent chunk of capital can hide opportunities to save money or optimize a process.

If you ran out of money, what would you do? Think through as many scenarios as possible and then implement the best ideas. When your back is to the wall and you feel you have no choice, you’ll toss out the sacred cows and focus on what really matters–and what will really make a difference.

4. Pretend there are no rules.

see more via 8 Easy Ways to Be Innovative | Inc.com. article written by Jeff Haden. Photo via shutterstock images.

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