Innovation techniques – for the brilliant ideas in you

 

Hello folks, I am back on writing my blog after a very long time. Too many things have happened during last two months since I was active on blogosphere.  Some of them are shareable and some, definitely not.

One such thing that I can definitely share was the experience I had when I participated in the Innovation forum in my company to do some more structured learning around innovation techniques.  Although it was a half day session, it has definitely left a mark on my perception on how the innovation could be done and a change of thinking is brought within the team.

We discussed quite a few methods on how the innovation could be introduced and more importantly sustained in a company, where innovation is a mandatory requirement for sustaining and thriving in the competitive market.

One of the most important aspect of innovation is the “Idea Generation”.  Unless ideas are generated, innovation can not fly.

There are quite a few idea generation techniques that would help generate large number of ideas to find new solutions and different ways of achieving the purpose.  Here in this article, we are going to have a look at three common techniques of idea generation.

 

Brainstorming / Brain writing

group-discussion One of the most often known and used IG technique is ‘Brainstorming’.  ‘Brain writing’ is another form of brainstorming where most of the thinking is done by writing your ideas on the piece of paper rather than discussing with the group initially.

 

  • For the brainstorming or brain writing session, we need to gather a group of participants who are familiar with the challenge statement. 
  • Create a challenge statement and the attribute list and make them visible to the team.
  • For the purpose of brain storming, it is recommended that the group of participants is typically less than 7 people.  If you have more than 7 people in the room, then you should go for Brain writing technique.
  • Ideas should be put up spontaneously verbally during brainstorming session and written on a piece of paper during brain writing session.
  • During the brain writing session, after each idea is written on a piece of paper, it is recommended to crumple the paper and throw in the middle and pick up someone else’s crumpled paper to write next idea.
  • Ensure that some rules such as non-criticism of any idea, welcoming unusual ideas and encouraging other participants to build on other’s ideas should strictly adhered to.
  • Encourage ‘quantity’ of ideas. For the purpose of idea generation, quality follows quantity.
  • Overall ideas should be rated based on the benefits it can give and easiness of achieving them.
  • All the ideas should be properly documented for future reference.

 

Scamper

SCAMPER is a checklist of lateral thought technique that can expand one’s creativity.

SCAMPER is a acronym of the following words,

  • Substitute – Try and see what can be substituted in the current situation in order to improve upon the scenario. Ask the questions on what can be substituted, how, when, why ?
  • Combine – Try to enhance the synergy by combining, merging, attaching, adding and uniting separate attributes together for the issue.  This might give a different solution altogether.
  • Adapt – Try and make adjustments to certain aspects and attributes of a product or process
  • Modify/Magnify/Minify – Try and change the size, quantity or quality of the attributes. Try to make things later or smaller, faster or slower and see what difference it can make to the situation.
  • Put to other use – Try and change the place or purpose for which an object or a process is currently being used.
  • Eliminate – Try and remove, omit or get rid of a quantity, part or whole object from the situation and see how it happens.
  • Rearrange/Reduce/Reverse – Try and place attributes against each other, pit them opposite or contrary to, turn around; to change order or adjust, different plan, layout or scheme.

 

Think like a child

thinklikeachild The purpose of this technique is to look at the challenge through the eyes of a six year old child to get a different perspective of the problem.

Whilst, I understand that changing the perspective from an adult to the child itself can be challenging but believe me it can be a fun.  In order to try and generate ideas using this technique, make your mind set similar to that of a child by thinking of a children you know and you can anticipate the reaction of.

Try and see the situation through their eyes and feel what they would like about the situation, what they would be proud of, what they would dislike, feel funny or useful about and note down the reactions. 

Consider the simple example of a muddy puddle. When we adults see it, we try and step over or step around it.  We imagine muddy shoes, dirty clothes and filthy carpets at home if we step into the puddle.  However, if you ask the same to kids, they would call it fun and imagine to build bridges and dams to cross it !!

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