Search Less for Innovation
In search of new ideas: he who searches less, will find more!
We all search for new ideas, but we all know that real good ideas are really difficult to find. To find new ideas, many times we look at what competitors do well, try to benchmark their best practices, we search in patent data bases, we realize brainstorm sessions, etc. We always try to find some radical, great new idea as fast as we can.
We forget sometimes that a large part of great new ideas happen in this world by coincidence or by stumbling upon them. Sure, innovation happens through clearly directed researches, but much of what was invented, happened because of experiments, or because concepts were obtained from other people or other industries. We see something happening outside our work, read an interesting article, we hear a speech, etc. And we adapt that idea or information to the reality in our own organization.
And that´s the way innovation happens. Many ideas are not found through “advanced search”, but yes through the “will to find”. Hereby, some attitudes that you can incorporate to simplify the way to find some good ideas:
Be curious and really interested: Really try to understand how things happen (products, services, but also other organizations, cultures, religions, machines). You will have some very interesting insights;
Do things you have never done before: get to know areas in your professional or personal life with which you have not had any contact. When was the last time you did something for the first time?;
Get to know people: from your area, but especially other areas of knowledge and skills. They will have different views than you do and thereby will stretch and chance your way of seeing things;
Encounter ideas by accident: Go into a library and read a book, a magazine that has little to do with your area of expertise. Or navigate freely on the internet, use some key words of areas you would like to know something about. Stumble upon something!
Opening your mind, getting to know new people and areas outside your daily life and reading will get you many, many new and good ideas. Get away from that desk and go out in the world! That´s where the ideas are. Search less and find more.
Caspar van Rijnbach is a specialist in innovation management and partner at TerraForum Consulting in Brazil – www.terraforum.com.br and www.terraforum.ca. Co-author of “Innovation: Breaking Paradigms” and “Management 2.0’’ (in Portuguese).
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