Saturday, January 26, 2008

10 Ways to Innovate

1. Innovation Starts with “And”:
All innovation starts with the word “And.” If you really want to innovate, take two statements that can’t possibly go together and join them with “and.” Like “Jump off a high cliff” and “Land light as a feather on the bottom.” It doesn’t matter how ridiculous the two statements are - just pick two and mash them together.

2. Not Just Smart, But Always Focused:
Now get a couple of really smart AND creative people in a room and start asking questions about how to make it happen.

3. Make Sure You Have the “No But” Critic in the Room:
You need one critic (and preferably only one) in the room. This is a way to keep from flying off into the ether.

4. Build Crappy Prototypes Fast:
Innovation is like hoping you’ll find a gold coin at the bottom of a pile of manure - you don’t know whether it’s worth the dig until you are covered in the stuff. You quite literally want to guard against getting the prototype right.

5. Don’t Listen To Customers, Watch Them:
Now get your idea in front of a potential customer. Always get in front of the customer as fast as possible. …. watch them. How much time do they spend with your prototype? Do their eyes light up?

6. If It’s Right, Change It.
Challenge it by changing it.

7. Sell it Like you Play It:
….don’t sell it like work. Sell it like play.

8. Iterate 'Till You Drop':
Just keep on going. Iterate the hell out of thing.

9. Appoint One Person Bad Cop and Follow Their Command:
…you have to ship something to really have been “innovative.” (Real innovators ship.) So have one person responsible for calling it quits.

10. Innovation Is About Learning, not Genius:
…the most important thing to remember is that most of innovation is learning, not inspiration.