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Creative Innovation in just 60 seconds!

Einstein once defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

But how do we start learning new techniques of doing things? How do we start to think differently and make the most of new opportunities? How do we become Creative Innovators?

In a recent survey of CEO's, a huge proportion rated Innovation as of prime importance in growing their business, of moving forward and maintaining their competitive edge. Yet few of them were doing much about it. And surprisingly over 50% believed their competitors were better at innovation than they were!

Now apart from the obvious statistical paradox, what does this show? A lack of confidence? A focusing on threat rather than opportunity? A failure to see and acknowledge the talent that already lies within their people? Probably all of these.

But at least they all recognised the imperative of moving forwards in this era of hyper innovation. Standing still is no longer an option, be it for a company, an organisation or an individual. There are no more "careers for life", unless of course we invent our own.

Things are changing so rapidly. The traditional Product Life cycle for many companies has shrunk from decades, to years, to months. Futurists predict that 60% of children at preschool right now will probably work at jobs and in industries that do not exist today! University students, especially those in technical fields, are finding the knowledge they learn in their first year is outdated by the time they graduate a few years later.

Imagine trying to explain Google's business model to someone in the 1970's! Or Skype to a Telco executive just a year ago. Who could have predicted the success of Ebay, Paypal & months before they launched. Well, someone did! And that's what makes it so exciting!

So, do you want have the ability to become a better Creative Innovator? I bet you do. Well try this simple technique. I call it the "How would..." method! It's equally applicable for making a decision for a corporation, brainstorming for a small committee or perhaps just solving a problem you face yourself.

[ This technique is always a hit with my workshop and keynote participants. And it's so easy to do. But don't dismiss it because of its simplicity, it's a powerful tool. But like most things you have to try it before you see how it works. ]

OK, before you read any further down the article, complete the following exercise. Grab a piece of paper and pen. Now, think of three people you admire for their problem solving, creativity or innovation skills. They might be in your industry, people you know, perhaps just people you see as being great at innovation, getting things done quickly or just really creative "ideas" people. Steve Jobs, Donald Trump, Jacques Cousteau, Walt Disney, everybody's list is going to be different.

Done that? We'll come back to them later, let's move on. As some of you know I have been fascinated with stage magic for many years. I've met, talked too and studied with some of the finest performers in the world. I'm fascinated with how they think and the lessons that we can learn from them and which we can apply in our own worlds.

The "father" of modern magic is a gentleman called Robert Houdin and he's often remembered for this famous quotation.

"A Magician is just an Actor playing the part of a Magician."

Well, we can use the same technique to become a more powerful Creative Innovator.

Just pretend you are for a moment!

Faced with an idea, a problem, an opportunity, a threat, say to yourself "How would.......? Ask yourself, how would someone else tackle this problem? How would they make the most of this opportunity? Instantly you will find your self thinking outside your usual framework. You'll get a range of ideas, approaches and methods that you wouldn't normally generate.

Let's try an example. Lets say your work has relocated you and your family to a new town. Your children attend a new school. Wanting to quickly get involved in the community you volunteer some time there. The PTA gives you the job of running the next Fundraising Fair. Yikes! It's something you've never done before. What do you do? You ask "How would?"

Let's say your personal list includes 'James Bond, Bob Geldof, & Ray Kroc.

Well, what would Bond do?

A Martini Booth is a great idea but perhaps not quite suitable for a school fete. But you get the idea about how this works. Continue thinking like Bond. What about the car! A tie- in with the local car dealership for a display of flash new Sports cars, a Bond Girl fashion parade, Dress Up as a Bond Villain competition & a Martial Arts display could all work really well!

Instantly you are getting a stream of ideas, many of which "you" wouldn't of thought of, but using this technique you unleash a stream of new ideas. Some of these are going to be useful. As with brainstorming, it's best to create as many ideas as possible and then go back and evaluate them later.

So, what would Bob Geldof do? He'd go for broad community support of the project. He would definitely work the press and call on favours from his friends to pull it all together.

What would Ray Kroc do? He would ask for the system manual! What did they do last year? And if there wasn't one, perhaps that would be his legacy on this committee, creating one for future volunteers so they didn't have to reinvent the wheel each time. Continue thinking like Kroc. Is there a way of replicating the Fair, are there ways to cut costs and expenses, offer value, speed etc.

Start thinking like a Creative Innovator and you will become one!

Now, your homework! Think of a challenge you have at the moment. Or perhaps let's be positive and think of an opportunity. Go back to your list of three people and ask, how would they do it?

If you don't come up with a string of interesting and different ideas, I'd be most surprised.

This is just one of many simple yet powerful techniques we explore in our "Brilliant Thinking" sessions. Details at

But I'd like to leave you with one last though. Think for a moment about the 3 people you choose for your list. What are the qualities that make them special?

It's been often said, that we are unable to recognise qualities in others, that we do not posses ourselves. The qualities that make those people great, are also your qualities. You just sometimes need a simple technique to utilise them.

About the author:
Timothy Hyde is a Creative Innovation Specialist.
He provides Keynotes and Workshops to help individuals and business -
"Think 'Faster, Sharper, Smarter". Visit his website for other free resources [url] [/url]

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