Fresh thinking and big ideas are essential drivers for success in an increasingly complex and demanding marketplace, yet, as the broad scope of innovation has expanded so too has the potential for fragmented processes and unfulfilled results. As more "hands" touch innovation —inside and outside of an organization—the greater is the potential risk that those multiple hands aren't working in concert. There is the need to assimilate the expansive and diverse (and many times disparate) factions that touch innovation to truly create the processes and results that ensure marketplace success.
The Tenets of Collaborative Innovation is a philosophy that is integrated into our innovation process based on researching consistent attributes and behaviors used by the most successful companies and individuals that have developed some of the most revolutionary new products, brands services, over the past decade. It reflects the essential insights and approaches that promote the development of fresh ideas and solutions: outlining the techniques that bring disparate entities, thinking and insights together for breakthrough results in the marketplace.
Silo-ed departments, fragmented objectives, and competitive agencies can, sadly, produce an atmosphere that’s unconducive to creativity and excellence. Conversely, creating the right environment—an inclusive environment—drives the innovation process. Inclusivity means all partners serving the singular goal of a project’s success.
The fresh thoughts are often hiding places where deep thinking can’t reach. Highly choreographed and expertly facilitated ideation sessions stimulate those elusive ideas into action. There will be many strange and uncontrollable ideas running around. Don’t be scared. Unless we’ve reached too far, we won’t know if we’ve reached far enough.
We've identified a certain type of person who brings a special spark to the innovation process. They're collaborative. They aren't afraid to fail. They're "switch thinkers"—equally adept from the left or right side of the brain. We call these talented and unique individuals "trans-disciplinary thinkers"—and they're invaluable to any innovation project.
Intentionally designing friction into the process is not about inciting clashing egos. Rather, by challenging existing perspectives and expected approaches, the use of "creative abrasion" can facilitate more effective solutions. From specially designed exercises to outside experts, interjecting new—and oftentimes opposing— perspectives can ultimately be extremely liberating for the ideation process.
A dispassionate review of the research deck isn’t enough. While beginning with deep consumer insights is essential, the foundation of superior innovation is build on something more: empathy. Understanding an end-user’s situation, their feelings and their motivations. Getting inside their heads and their hearts to gain a true and accurate appreciation of their needs.
Ideas are everywhere: look outside your department, outside of your company, outside of your category. Look across aisles, across channels, across cultures.
What makes things around us meaningful to and appreciated by those who use them? What is the unique essence of the thing? Stay attuned to innovation opportunities by looking for uniqueness and inspiration in your everyday surroundings.
Even when driving forward in rapid development, the process is rarely a straight shot from point A to point B. Innovation has the tendency to pendulate. It's a very organic evolution. A process of expansion and contraction, divergence and convergence. Stretching our thinking and then distilling our thinking.
Products, services and brands are rarely communicated in one dimension. To bring concept opportunities to life—vividly and actively—innovation must engage and stimulate all of the senses. Multi-sensory approaches which are able to dimensionalize thinking and truly expand the realm of what is possible. Dimensionalization adds depth, richness and color, making concepts holistic and tangible.
Like the two hemispheres of the brain, organizations encompass both modes of thinking, but tend to display a preference for either left-brain or right-brain thinking. Consumers, however, tend to be far less dichotomous. The buying process engages both sides of the brain: purchase decisions balancing emotional and functional considerations. Successful innovation must also strike this critical balance.
Momentum means more than speed-to-market—momentum means the successful gestation of the idea. Keeping the excitement alive and essence in tact as we move forward at lightning speeds. Ultimately, momentum is not simply generating great ideas, but guiding business goals to fruition efficiently.