the next great idea?
a few years ago, who would have dreamed that
putting water in a bottle and selling it for
$1 would amount to beans?
get the drift … but how do you put yourself
and other workers in a creative mode to even
think of a great idea? How do you motivate your
staff to remain cutting-edge in their thinking,
when all they want to do is complete the next
project, close a new deal and go home at the
end of the day?
creativity and innovation doesn’t happen overnight,
but you can begin by thinking differently about
the way you and your organization invest time,
effort and resources into the creative process.
It’s a proven fact that the best workplace inventions
and ideas throughout history weren’t accidental
at all, although we’re conditioned to believe
they were because it’s so much more “glamorous”
and exciting to actually believe Michael Dell
became a millionaire overnight. It actually
took him quite a bit of time building and selling
computers out of his dorm room to even scratch
it may be true that penicillin was discovered
through a strange case of mold, finding your
next big idea doesn’t have to be a surprise,
and the time you invest in this activity should
be considered golden. It’s a fact that successfully
innovative companies are more likely to generate
growth rates of 20 percent or more than less
innovative ones, and companies that generate
80 percent of their revenue from new products
consistently double their market capitalization
within five years.
that rely only on their leaders will find themselves
terribly uncreative, because this approach sends
innovation to the fringes of a company. It presumes
that the organization is, by nature, dull and
slow, and that innovation can only be spurred
on by a handful of creative types whose official
job is to be innovative. As a result, this squelches
most workers’ ideas because they don’t see it
as their role to drive innovation.
addition, many people believe creativity can
only be driven by the company oddball or eccentric
who may be “hip” and “happening.” Think of the
cool cats who sip lattes and think of great
ideas all day long. Think again! Certainly,
organizations should not discourage this from
occurring, but creativity isn’t the process
of thinking of a great idea by sitting under
the Juniper tree. It’s a process of planning.
do you accomplish the creative process? Here
are some tried-and-true methods that have spawned
more than one great idea.
Everyone – Innovation is all around
you, and usually begins from the bottom-up.
In your own company or organization, the
mailroom guy and the low-rung administrative
assistant may be the most creative people
on staff, and yet, you have no notion they
have an inclination to think of anything
outside the norm. Ask them for feedback
and advice. Put them on creative teams and
tell them you appreciate their efforts.
Emphasize that this is more than the company’s
suggestion box; you’re looking for more
creative ways to accomplish your goals and
for the Biggest Obstacle First – It
might be easy to concentrate on more creative
ways to provide, for example, continuing
education to your staff, but you’re more
likely to achieve bottom-line results by
tackling something bigger and more immense
– like the sales process. If the largest
problem is finding staff who can “close
the deal,” then you’ve got to concentrate
on coming up with solutions to tackle the
a Business Case – When the challenge
is identified, you need to devise various
ways to solve it, and the natural inclination
is to brainstorm and use problem-solving
methods. If you work in teams, bring them
together. After the team agrees on a viable
solution, the next step is to create a hypothetical
(yet in actuality, it could be real) business
case to support new recommendations. This
quickly illustrates whether the creative
idea might work. Once you’ve tested and
modified the proposed solution, if it seems
to work, then present a formal proposal
to the organization’s leaders.
that creativity and innovative thinking shouldn’t
be done in a vacuum; it should involve everyone
in your organization, and although it might
seem far-fetched, every idea should be considered
for its worth.
companies innovate every day in some way or
another. Highlight innovations other companies
have enjoyed. For more ideas on how to tie performance
measures with innovation, give us a call.