Everyone has the potential to be innovative. However, many people struggle to generate new ideas and feel that they are not creative enough. With the correct attitude and tools, you can become more innovative in a few simple steps. The following is a basic guide on how to become more innovative.
Don’t be afraid of failure
It’s okay to fail as long as you learn from your mistakes. People remember your successes more than your failures. Accepting the fact that it is okay to fail and embracing it as an opportunity to learn can free you up to take risks. It is essential to overcome your fear of failure when innovating.
It is important to take risks when innovating. Scott Berkun, a well-known American author and popular speaker on creativity, philosophy, culture, business and many other subjects says “Commit yourself to taking enough risks that you will fail some of the time. If you’re not failing, we’re not doing something sufficiently difficult or creative.”
Surround yourself with inspiration
Whenever something captures your attention, put it on display. It may be anything from a clever advert from a magazine to an email that you really enjoyed and that inspired you. You need a spot where you can display these ideas that give you inspiration whether it be on a physical wall in your office or in a virtual place like Pinterest.
Another option is to try and find a creative environment to trigger your creativity. Try and find an environment that is relaxing, inspiring or different and spend some time thinking in this environment and then brainstorm and write your thoughts down.
Innovation rarely happens in a vacuum. Surrounding yourself with inspiration can also be achieved by surrounding yourself with the correct people. Try finding someone you feel comfortable with to bounce your ideas off, get inspiration from and facilitate the innovative process. This person should also be there to encourage you try new things and push your boundaries. A few examples could include, trying a new place for lunch, pitching an idea in an unorthodox manner, sharing articles that inspire, or just doing some brainstorming. New ideas can surface as a result of two minds that would not have been arrived by a single person
Learn About Anything and Everything
It is a well-known fact that the best innovators are also some of the biggest learners, and not just about fields directly related to their work. Niel Blumenthal, founder of one of the most innovative companies of 2015 – Warby Parker, says: “Learning naturally leads to cross-pollination and ideation. Ideation can lead to action. Action is how innovation comes to life.”
Never think you know it all
Even though you may be an expert in a particular field, it is impossible to know everything and you most definitely should never think that you know it all. You need to constantly be questioning yourself and thinking about how you can do things better. It is often useful to approach things with a “beginner’s mind-set” and look for ways to get a fresh perspective.
Learn to think on paper
Once you have an idea or find inspiration it is important to record it so that you don’t forget it. It is helpful to write your ideas down on paper or you could even store them on your smartphone or computer.
You may want to get yourself an empty notebook or journal to full with your ideas and innovations. Some people may prefer using loose papers as it is less restricting, straight and organised. If you decide to use loose papers then just make sure you don’t lose them! When you start jotting ideas down, write everything down that comes to your head from random words and phrases to ideas and thoughts. Sometimes you might want to circle things and draw lines to connect ideas. When an inspiration hits, follow it.
Don’t discount the crazy ideas
As a child, you were most likely fill of crazy and wonderful ideas. You had no limitations based on your age, experience level, how the world operates, or anything else. As we grow up and become adults we become fearful to act on our ‘crazy’ ideas, we become fearful of being judged.
When trying to innovate it is crucial to not shoot down any idea no matter how crazy it may seem. Some most of the world’s most successful innovations came from ideas that were originally considered to be “crazy”. Consider famous entrepreneur and innovator Elon Musk. Everyone said his idea of privatizing space travel and reducing space transportation costs was crazy, yet today SpaceX is a huge successful company. Ideas that appear silly at first often generate new, useful ideas. Innovation should be an iterative process, an idea can be expanded on, it can evolve.
Change your routine
Research has shown that one of the biggest creativity killers is a fixed routine. To try to become more creative and innovative you need not to stick to the same routine each day. Amongst your daily activities try change anything you can or try do the same things a different way.
It is also important to try new things that you have never experienced before. Remember to mix it up try saying yes to something you usually say No to. Also it is key to include some time off for relaxation somewhere in your routine.
Dedicate free time for creative thinking
As well as changing up your outline it is also important to dedicate time for creative thinking. This also links back to surrounding yourself with inspiration and finding a creative environment to trigger your creativity. During this time you need to try your best to free your mind and let your creative juices flow. Many people find it helpful to meditate beforehand and there are a plethora of medication techniques available.
Learn to observe
Sometimes observing other people can inspire you and lead you to innovate and become more creative. Many people may feel that observing is like stealing another person’s idea and for that reason do not consider this option. However, observing is not stealing and you can greatly benefit by observing someone else (particularly someone that inspires you). By observing you can add pieces of information from here and there together until you come up with something totally new.