Lindsay Adams

Innovation Can Come From Within

As business owners we constantly need to be innovative in our approach to networking, referrals and relationships. Heraclitus, the Greek Philosopher is credited with being one of the earliest creative thinkers. Little is known about his early life and education, however he is regarded as self-taught, he was also known as the weeping philosopher.

He often said that delving into our own knowledge and intuition was a perfect way to gain insight. If you compare this with our modern education system, there is little opportunity for reflection or insight gained from within yourself. Our schools and universities are based on the “Gulp and Vomit” system. That is you gulp down a lot of information and vomit it back out onto paper at the exam in the exact same words if possible.

As a result of this process we come to believe that the best ideas are those provided to us from within someone else’s head, rather than our own unique thoughts and musings. Heraclitus would like us to remember that there are many good ideas in our own heads, of course if we are willing to delve into the recesses of our brain.

We can with practice, develop our own innovation style.

Here are six ways that you can delve into your inner recesses to access your creativity and innovation skills.

  1. Pay Attention to the Details
    Have you ever got up early on a crisp winters morning and noticed the beauty of a spider’s web as it glistens in the early morning sun. Or what about the precision with which ants leave their nest and return carrying a load of plunder from their day or hours of foraging outside the ant nest. How do they know where to go to find the food and then how do they remember to get back, often precisely retracing their steps back to the nest.

I used to do this from natural wonder, now I ponder the detail and use this talent to observe detail in problems or challenges I face.

  1. Become Detached
    The best way to free up ideas is to let the best ones go. That’s right, often times we come up with a good idea, which we want to use no matter what. We literally fall in love with it. Sometimes the pathway to enlightenment is rocky and we have to let go of love! Leave that beloved idea to one side and explore other ideas. Only after we let go, do we sometimes find exactly what we had been searching for all along.
  2. Find Your Blind Spot
    The creators of the Johari Window, Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham created a four-quadrant model about relationship awareness. In one of the quadrants the Blind Spot, the two descriptors include that which is known to others, but not to ourselves.

Sometimes we are looking at a challenge or problem and we just can’t see a solution. It’s at times like these that we may need to think of the Johari Window and ask someone else what is it that they can see that we can’t. Looking at someone else’s challenge with fresh eyes is often enlightening and the blinding obvious stands out so clearly.

  1. The Pressure Cooker Approach
    The quickest way to cook vegetables on a kitchen stovetop is to use a pressure cooker. It gets them cooked in half the time and makes the job easy. If you are faced with a problem or challenge perhaps applying the pressure cooker theory may work. That is set a short deadline and work hard and fast toward creating the perfect solution by the looming deadline.

This process works well with a group of people and the challenge to perform is often met.

  1. Handle Rejection
    Depending on the creative process being used, your ideas may be rejected out of hand by your work colleagues. Be brave and let your ideas be tested, challenged and even rejected by others. As part of the creative process, ideas need to be challenged, remember the best ideas often come out of a rejected idea.
  2. Harness Your Ego
    One of the worst errors we can make when we are searching for creative or innovative ideas is to let our ego interfere. It’s our idea, so it must be good, it’s our idea, so of course it will work. It’s our idea, so of course I’ve considered all the alternatives! I’m sure you can relate to what I’m saying.

Let go of your ego, remain calm and go with the flow, you may be amazed at what happens next!