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Innovation: Where Do Ideas Come From?

At TVI, we take innovation seriously. It’s what the “I” in TVI stands for. Our proprietary innovation processes encourages innovation thinking with our team through our innovation lab, Blue Sky Labs. If you’d like to learn more about how our structured innovation process can be used in your company, just contact us for more details. Here are some tips on ideation from our innovation team to help you create a culture of innovation in your workplace.

 Create Time to Think

 When we asked our team what was stopping them from innovating and coming up with new ideas, many expressed that time is the main factor preventing them from being truly innovative. In a busy work place who has time to think right? Most people don’t. So most people don’t innovate.

Do you craft out time to consciously brainstorm ideas? Maybe it’s 30 minutes every morning before you start your day or 15 minutes on your train ride home. The point is that in order to innovate we need to set time aside to consciously think about new ideas. Do so and you’re one step closer to innovating than most people.

 Change the way you think

 If you’re not coming up with enough ideas, maybe it is time to challenge your way of thinking and think differently:

1.     Instead of looking for what works, look for what doesn’t work, look for problems in your daily life.  The world is full of things that are broken and annoy us.  Every time something doesn’t work to your liking, start writing them down! Some of these problems may be the light you are looking for. If it’s a problem to you, it might be a problem to someone else too.

2.     Connect the unconnected. Attach a word to your solution idea to see how it can help or if you can connect it to your problem. Or pick up an item and ask yourself  “What attributes of this item could help us solve our challenge?”

As I was exploring a product solution to help with neck pain, a friend simply added the word “accessory” and it changed my thinking of how to approach the solution. Do I need to create a brand new product, or can I just create an accessory to an existing product that is used for the neck? The single word lead to solutions that were drastically different in design.

The point is that that purpose of connecting the dots is to steer you into a different direction compared to your usual way of thinking. If you are using the same way of thinking, over and over again, the result may be that you are producing the same ideas and not innovating as a result.

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 3.    Shifting perspective may also help in producing new ideas. Get someone else’s perspective by asking them what they would do if they are faced with the challenges you are facing or simply put yourself in someone else’s shoe by playing the “If I were” game. For example, If I were Bill Gates (could be anybody you want), how would I address this problem?

 Sometimes, a simple change in environment like taking a walk in the park can go a long way in changing one’s perspective.

 4.  Associative thinking, the process of linking one thought or idea to another, is another great way to develop innovative ideas. If there is an aspect of an idea you are not completely happy with, look into other ideas to see if those can improve your idea. Here are 6 ways to amp your associative thinking skills and some questions to get you going…

 7 Essential Innovation Questions

Ideation is the first step towards innovation. Without coming up with a bunch of good and bad ideas innovation is impossible. The more ideas, the more likelihood of GREAT ideas. Make time to think about potential problems that need fixing, and change the way you think in order to create new ideas. In the process, below are some of the questions you can ask to aid your ideation sessions.


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