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It’s Monday Morning...10 Tips to Get Started on Innovation

Have you been tasked to innovate within your organization? Are you having trouble gaining momentum and getting results? You’re not alone. One of the biggest issues organizations face with innovation is that they are simply not sure just where to begin. Here are 10 simple ways you can spark action around innovation for yourself and in your organization—starting today.
  1. Arm yourself with better brainstorming techniques. Sometimes, you just need new tools for thinking. Learn five to ten idea-generation techniques and use them at your next brainstorming session. You can also provide them as part of an online innovation toolkit on your intranet.

  2. Set up a forum for sharing. Innovation can take off when there’s better collaboration between employees. Invite your team members or friends to participate in an online message board. Fuel it with questions around innovation. Google, Yahoo, and other Websites offer free message board services.

  3. Rapidly attack a business problem. Hold a 30-minute meeting to brainstorm new ways to solve “problem X.” Set no boundaries. Allow people to say whatever they want. In sessions like this, quantity—not quality—matters. So, don’t try to stem the flow or shoot down any ideas in the room.

  4. Conduct a fast “strategy survey.” If you ask two colleagues to define what innovation means in your organization, do you get three different answers? It’s time you got people on the same page. Write down how five leaders in your industry and five leaders outside your industry define innovation. What can you learn to help define innovation for you?

  5. Evaluate an idea with your team. Sit with your fellow innovation team members and individually evaluate an idea. Share your results. Did you all rate it the same way? Why/why not? Use the exercise as a way to develop an objective and uncomplicated idea scorecard for your innovation program.

  6. Commit to a “quick win” project. Show you’re serious about innovation and get people comfortable around it by starting small. Creating momentum and showcasing the results will spur more and bigger thinking over time.

  7. Develop an idea calendar. Take a proactive approach to idea generation by outlining monthly questions/challenges you can pose to your team. Making innovation specific and proactive can make it more top-of-mind and yield more strategically relevant ideas.

  8. Investigate innovation outside of the office. Take your team on an innovation field trip, visiting three or four destinations that help people view things from a new perspective.

  9. Do something different. Get coffee from a new place. Walk/drive to work using a different route. Visit Websites on topics you know nothing about or places you’ve never had time to check out but want to.

  10. Find a “younger” mentor. Learn something from those younger than yourself. Ask them to show you how to use today’s technology, learn the places they go online, what music they download, or how they communicate in general.