A germinal idea requires the sanctuary of a mindspace that is totally nurturing. It requires a space to grow so that its wildness is not nipped in the bud. Who knows what weed will become the coffee bush? Develop sanctuaries for wild ideas. Let the wilderness flourish in a totally non-threatening atmosphere. Let the ideas grow high and tall. Leave all pruning for later. New ideas need to play freely, like crawling, naked babies with no discipline. Suspend judgment, postpone reaction, extend effort.
Hindustan Lever has its innovation centers. Cognizant has budgets for its mavericks and no stop signs within those budget allocations.
Ask all participants to make an impossible wish – zero cost, zero rejections or doubling productivity. Then proceed to tame them bit by bit by using the innovation tools already learnt, like 6M. This process can be extended as you learn all the tools. So, go ahead and spend time setting impossible goals and developing wild ideas.
Studying the methods used in other industries is a method of importing ideas from a totally different field. To proactively network with totally different industries can spark off extremely innovative ideas.
In a very successful turnaround, an Indian scooter company borrowed ideas for its dealer outlets from high fashion retailers in Paris.
New ideas come to those who carefully and systematically study the methods of competitors. Opportunities for improvement can be identified by benchmarking against industry leaders. Stars are systematic in their methods of looking outside their companies, and of scanning their environment regularly for collaborative opportunities. For example, many Indian companies use ideas from foreign competitors, who then become collaborators.
Although recent empirical research shows that most firms have implemented cross-functional teams for the majority of the new product development projects, they are still finding it hard to ensure that these teams are successful in completing the new product development task. In looking at how to create successful teams, many factors have been suggested, particularly cooperation between team members.
Most companies are so involved in meeting deadlines and fire fighting that there is rarely time to discuss and explore work related issues. Providing a structure, space and time to discuss ideas and toy with possibilities, can greatly increase the chances of creative ideas emerging. The tolerance required to generate a multitude of alternative solutions is the climate required when talking about work.
A great deal of organizational energy is wasted by duplication of activities that are being done by others and duplication of activities that can be done by suppliers or other stakeholders. This is a result of overlapping responsibilities. Once unnecessary tasks are eliminated, there will be a focus on relevant activities and with it will come relevant innovation.
Dr. Rekha Shetty is Managing Director of Farstar Distribution Network, a unique consultancy company devoted exclusively to innovation and creativity under the brand name Mindspower.She is an author, an entrepreneur and an original thinker. Her long term Innovation Initiative, using 47 thinking tools helps in a steep increase in profits, reduction in costs, while improving customer satisfaction levels and employee participation levels. She is a consultant to ICICI Bank, Ashok Leyland Ltd., Hyundai Motors Ltd., TVS Group, TI Group, Durgapur Steel Plant, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. and other blue chip companies.
In her very first assignment in United India Insurance, she developed a nationally acclaimed advertising campaign. During the last seventeen years, she has specialized in the field of Creativity in Management and developed her own management brand, Mindspower. She was one of Asia’s first women District Governors for Rotary International and was awarded Rotary’s highest Award – Service above Self.
Her fourth book “Innovate! 90 Days to Transform your Business” is under print and will be released by Penguin during May 2010.