Creative Innovation – Design-led Thinking
Everyone gets really excited when they hear the words creative innovation but few really understand that it has emotional appeal and meaning. At its heart, it’s about understanding consumer behaviour and unlocking the insight – which is an intensely human process. If your objective is to drive an innovation program, then you’ll need two important ingredients:
- Empathy: Understanding your customer in an intimate and compelling way; and
- Explore: Ideate with creativity and imagination.
Explore: IdeateWe know that innovation is also about finding creative solutions to problems, Alex Osborn, introduced brainstorming and Creative Problem Solving back in the ’60s. So, ideation isn’t new – if you have a good insight platform or new opportunity space expressed in a positive language it’s your IDEATION that could be letting you down. In Australia, I still see IDEATION facilitated in the traditional style as first introduced by Osborn. In my experience facilitating numerous ideation and creative innovation sessions, there is usually one thing that’s missing when we analyse what’s gone wrong in the past – the understanding that creativity and imagination is what fuels ideas. Sounds simple, right? Yet this is the most misunderstood fundamental in the innovation process. Energy is usually wasted in a traditional brainstorm session because participants haven’t switched on their ‘creative’ brain and are still operating on a rational level. I use the Creative Detour (a modified Anzar model) which is a different model to the traditional CPS methodology. It states that we need to break out of the current framework and use different dynamics and processes to fuel unique ideas. It crosses different cultures, different languages and indeed uses all aspects of imagination to produce unique perspectives. These techniques assist us to unbuckle structure and allow more time to foster and explore imagination. This Creative Detour approach effectively fuels and steers the energy in a more creative yet productive fashion. Creative Detour is the link between Creativity and Innovation. This technique is an IMAGINATION DETOUR and is about fully understanding and utilising DIVERGENCE and requires the understanding of a lot of creativity techniques – not just standard techniques. It’s the process of drilling down, piercing and tapping into one’s creative state, is the state of Creative Fracking. It’s the ability to carve deep into a creative crevice, letting go, exploring and then unlocking the imaginative state. Then, an eruption, and out with all the energy comes to the ideas. Your imagination explodes and free-flowing ideas bubble and burst to the surface. Lots and lots of ideas, gushing and surging forward. The more ideas the better. The golden rule is always GO FOR QUANTITY. Such fracking is rarely established during ideation sessions because in most situations there is usually a ‘stop’ and ‘start’ pattern to the process – lots of interaction and discussions that create a distraction to the process. There is a time and place for collaboration but not during divergence. At this stage, we need concentration and preparedness. The process itself is easy, but we rarely give ourselves the time to discover our creative selves. In a Creative Detour, divergence is the first prolonged phase followed by Convergence then Reality. Convergence is the art of bringing ideas together, clustering, making choices and carry diverse ideas forward. We want to screen down the most intriguing ideas and make them real. The final phase is Reality – this is the skill, making obtuse and unrelated ideas a commercial reality. This is the creative journey. Creative Detour also drives the outcomes of the innovation strategy. If your innovation strategy requires:-
- A small competitive advantage then the divergence is fast, shallow and tends to produce ‘common ideas’ which have limited commercial gains.
- An innovation pipeline with the next generation of ‘innovative’ ideas then the divergence continues to a deeper level.
- A disruptive agenda then the creative detour is pitched at an imaginative ‘fracking’ state. These ideas usually require longer lead times to be commercialised.
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