I am deeply into the new book by the Kelley Brothers, Tom and David (the IDEO Guys): Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All. Maybe I am finally understanding the “creativity” (and innovation) challenge after a lot of exposures to their work and the work of others.
To come up with genuine breakthrough “innovations,” (and the book is filled with examples), you need three things – and maybe a fourth:
#1 – A “how do I actually define the problem?” mindset. This is terrific! Time and again, companies fail to define the problem with enough precision. Thus, they come up with solutions that are solutions to the wrong problem. I’ve read this, I’ve thought this – this book helps me understand just how big a deal this is. “What is the problem?” is the question to keep pursuing, until you get the exact right answer to this question.
#2 – Put yourself in the place of an actual user of your product of service. And the only way to do this – the only way! — is to observe real people actually buying/using a product or service. I mean, really observe – taking plenty of time, paying very close attention.
#3 – Cultivate genuine empathy for the user of your product or service. Never ask someone to adapt to what you provide. You adapt what you provide to the way they actually want to use the product or service.
This reminds me of the simple but brilliant observation made by Frank Luntz in What Americans Really Want…Really: What Americans really want is “no hassles.” And any time you remove a hassle, you are providing what people want!
And, #4 — You can be more innovative than you think you can be when you have a time constraint – a “deadline” for your innovation. Fascinating!
Professional Speaker & Writer
Co-founder, First Friday Book Synopsis