11 Practical Ideas for Personal Innovation

Without motivation, permanent change cannot occur.And without change, nothing new can be created.

1. Think when you are not thinking. Try going for a walk,cooking, cleaning the house, doing yard work or asking yourself questions tostimulate curiosity and creativity.

Who … is the actor or agent?

What … is the action required?

When … is the right time or timing?

Where … is the location, scene or source?

Why … is this needed?

How … by what agency or method?

2. Listen to classical music. Recent studies reveal amolecular basis for the ?Mozart effect,? but not for other music. Mozart canrelieve stress, improve communication and increase efficiency. Creativityscores soar when listening to Mozart.

3. Read periodicals you would not typically read. If you?reinterested in business, read a scientific magazine, or choose books outsideyour typical genre to generate diverse thinking?a critical competency in thecreative process.

4. Attend a conference or a meeting outside your field. Thishelps connect to other ?dots? in your life. Being away from your daily routineis a sure bet to stimulate ideas for creative solutions to your existingchallenge.

5. Surround yourself with creative thinkers. Manyorganizations do not hire creative people, instead hiring for skill and theirfit for the task. Chances are there are more ?alike? people in your area than?different.? Look outside your area and normal routine to find some creativethinkers who are comfortable looking at things through a different lens, arenot afraid to challenge assumptions, or who naturally love to explore newnessin everything. Find people who love to doodle or draw, or who are exceptionalstorytellers.

6. Immerse yourself in a real problem. Ask questions andinvestigate possible outcomes. Try the state/restate technique. Individually orin a small team, write the current challenge in an open-ended question format.Then restate the question eight different ways. It?s been shown that 100percent of participants experience a much greater clarity of the original?problem statement? than before. Once the problem is clear and concise, thendive into finding solutions?first looking at all ideas and then narrowing themdown.

7. Keep an idea journal. An idea journal is accomplishedwhen we take the time to commit our ideas to paper or an electronic note pad.Throughout the course of any given day, countless ideas come and go. Write orrecord them even though many may appear unrealistic at the time. Most of ussimply discard our ideas as passing thoughts. The problem with this is thatwhat we had previously believed to be unachievable can change drastically asour minds expand with each new success that comes our way.

8. Take a course to learn a new language or some other skilloutside your area of expertise. This builds confidence and can provide an edgeover others in the global multicultural working environment.

9. Be curious and experiment. In today?s no-nonsensebusiness environment, those who stand out will rise to the top faster. Thosewho demonstrate curiosity, tenacity and willingness to experiment will becomevisible. Leaders value people who demonstrate a curiosity for the many facetsof the business and a passion for its growth and success. This is the?intrapreneur? at work. The greater the degree of organizational support, themore design thinking flows and the more innovation is fostered in theorganization.

10. Articulate your idea and seek feedback. Innovative ideasare those that solve an unmet need in the market. It is not about having a newidea, but about getting it out there. Testing an idea with your co-worker isone thing, but testing it with your customers or potential customers yields thebest insights on the applicability, giving you more precise feedback about theneed for your idea and its potential impact. For multiple ideas, vary your testnetwork by approaching different people.

Seek feedback from collaborators and creative people as well.

11. Create a greenhouse for your ideas. The four primarynegative forces designed to kill your ideas immediately are time, money, thepeople around you, and you yourself. 

For each, identify how to reduce the negative influence on the fresh ideas thatdesperately need ?greenhousing,? that is, attention, protection, nurturing andgrowing. When dealing with ideas, greenhousing means keeping them safe, growingthem naturally by being more curious, researching the elements and findingpossibilities that will create an impact. Don?t force them to sprout too early.In other words, don?t tell others and don?t discard the ideas, but give themtimely attention in the greenhouse until they have some viability.


Jatin DeSai, an international strategist and consultant, isthe CEO and founder of The DeSai Group, in West Hartford, Conn.