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Issue 05: Q3 2013 - 5 Tips to Become a Successful Innovator

5 Tips to Become a Successful Innovator

Issue 05: Q3 2013 / July 9, 2013
Charlie Scott
Founder and Creative Director

5 Tips for innovators

There’s a lot of talk about innovation and it often sounds complicated or something only experts can tackle. Most innovation actually comes from adapting or adopting something someone else has already done. So here are some tips to become a successful innovator:

1. Have a purpose, don’t innovate for the sake of innovation.

Your work must be more than a job, otherwise you may not have enough emotion fuel to complete the bumpy ride of an innovation project. If your company stands for something then use it to drive your innovation project. Companies need to innovate but they need to align innovation with their core beliefs.

2. Continually look to borrow other people’s ideas.

Picasso said that “good artists copy great artists steal”. However you wish to interpret his words, the idea is that answers are out there waiting to be adapted, repurposed or simply tweaked to serve your purpose. Sam Walton said “You can learn from everybody” and he never stopped learning from his competitors (volume discounting, extended hours, check-outs front of house, managers’ profit sharing, just-in-time delivery & Radio Frequency Identification) to name a few.

3. Ideas are everywhere and should be shared with everyone.

The best process ensures the best results, but not necessarily the brightest people. Hence ensure that you create a methodology that involves your project team and allows them to share ideas freely.

4. Find your inner child, remember how to play and dream.

Encouraging people to play and dream is difficult when you think about work, it seems oxymoronic. But how else are you going to imagine what you may need in the future? Market research can’t help you on that one!

5. Embrace failure, you never know what you’ve created.

X-Rays, Potato Chips, Stainless Steel and Plastic were all invented by accident, so don’t think if you haven’t achieved your stated objective you have failed, you may have simply solved someone else’s problem.

Success Stories:
LEGO: Getting innovation right
LEGO: Getting innovation right

From Duplo to Star Wars, Technics to Chima, Architecture to Friends, the Lego product portfolio is huge but in 2003 only 3 lines of Lego toys made money. Lego nearly innovated themselves out of business. It was only when Lego remembered that their purpose was to ‘create construction experiences’ that they got themselves back on track. Check out David Robertsons fascinating story of Lego’s ‘open innovation’ mindset, presented at the FT Innovate conference.

Read more: Amazing History of LEGO Company

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