Innovation and Change – Or 7 Ways to Exit the Insanity Trap

by James on July 22, 2009

Einstein described insanity as “doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result.” If you are guilty of this, here are seven ways to change your approach, to drive growth with business innovation and escape from the insanity trap.

  1. Go way outside the box. Come up with the most ridiculous solution or idea you can think of and then fix it. By bringing the impossible back to reality you will find business innovation difficult to find by taking a more linear path.
  2. From the mouths of children. Ask the most junior team member what they would do. Their biggest asset is ignorance. Listen carefully to what they are saying. Probe for what’s underneath. They don’t know what you know, what your business has always done, so they are well equipped to bring fresh thinking.
  3. Ask your customers. Radical I know but they have a stake. Customers are usually well informed about what your product has to offer and what your competition is offering. With some encouragement they will open up. And don’t ask a researcher to do it, do it yourself.
  4. Ask your network. You know lots of folks inside and outside your industry, smart people who can stimulate a new solutions (see “Children” above). Ask LinkedIn or Twitter or Facebook or your social network of choice what they would do.
  5. Ask a librarian. Chances are you aren’t the first to face your particular problem. A research librarian can turn up lots of history to bring fresh perspective and stimulate thinking about business innovation.
  6. Ask a college professor. It’s their business to understand your business but the do so from a relatively sterile perspective. Their POV may not be practical but leavened with your knowledge and experience their ideas can get you to a new place.
  7. Engage a consultant. Consultants need to know your sectors and are exposed to many businesses competing in your space. A good consultant will force you to face reality and support you as you lead change in your organization.

Any or all of these ideas will help you develop new solutions. Tells us what works for you in the comments. Or, you could just keep doing the same thing. I’m sure something new will happen soon.

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