The rules are made to be followed! This truth will never stop to be relevant. Even though breaking the rules is much easier than following them. But we need rules. Simple rules are necessary to make everything work efficiently. The simpler and more straightforward the rules are, the better impact they will have. That’s the whole secret of setting the rules.
In innovation, you also have to follow specific rules. It might seem that designing innovation is something that is not subject to any regulations. In practice, it turns out that the way you work on your invention can impact its final shape. Simple rules are cool. They make your work much more comfortable. Here is my decalogue of an innovator:
1. Keep improving your ideas
Never, ever, ever rest on your laurels. The modernization process is continuous, so you can’t stand still either. The whole world may love you for doing something innovative. But it will also need much more from you. If your solutions are good, make them great. If they are great, make them the best. Once they are and someone thinks they couldn’t possibly be better, surprise everyone and show them something outstanding. There is no such thing that you can’t improve.
2. Look for new applications for existing solutions
Watch out for simple solutions and then look for their applications in fields for which they were not designed for. Watch nature. It has been looking for millions of years and has learnt to use different mechanisms in different places, improving them. Turn the whole world upside down. Look from a different perspective. Sometimes it takes some time to see something obvious.
3. A day without brainstorming is a lost day
The more often you dream of new ideas, the easier it will be for you to come up with them. Be brave and let your thoughts be also. Write them all down. That way, you will find a few that can amaze the world among hundreds that will not. Confirm them, discuss and argue, try to exchange views. Do it as often as you can. Every day find a moment to dream.
4. Listen to the customers
If you do something for other people, don’t be afraid to ask them how they feel. Ask your audience for opinions at every stage of the project creation and implementation. Do not make people happy by force. Customers and target recipients of a given product know better how it should work. Do not close yourself to criticism. You are not an alpha&omega. Make the changes they expect. So learn to compromise. The earlier you’ll meet customers’ requirements, the less expensive the changes will be later on.
5. Don’t kill your creativity
Do not get into a routine. Don’t close yourself to new ideas, no matter how absurd they were. Every vision has something that you can use later on. Don’t close mouth to people who have something to say. Do not automatically deny all proposals. Don’t be afraid to take risks. If you start to fear change, you will kill creativity.
6. Don’t complicate
The simpler something is, the better. Make a concept instead of stuffing a project with 1000 extra functions. Focus on the realization of the basic ones. People are afraid of complicated things because they can’t handle them. The more comfortable your product will be to use, the more users will be happy to use it.
7. Take the risk
Those who do not risk will not go far in business. You must have courage, but also common sense. It is not about throwing yourself at every new opportunity. You have to prepare yourself to take risks. And you must be able to minimize them by…
8. Experiment: Solve problems, meet needs, design experiences
Solve specific and fundamental problems. This way, you will create something useful for people. And they will want to enjoy it. Let each of your products evoke positive associations in people and refer to experiencing something new. Something simple, easy, useful, and necessary. It will allow them to meet their needs. Happy recipients will act like a magnet and attract more.
9. Create prototype
Always try to create prototypes of what you design. On a computer, on a piece of paper, even on a napkin in a cafe. A prototype does not have to be perfect and filled with fireworks. The better the prototype, the easier it will be to do what you have planned. Remember not to spend too much time on prototyping because you won’t have time to work on the real product.
10. Create benefits
Money is essential, but try not to think about innovations only through the prism of making money. Instead of that, try to create benefits. For other people. For the environment. For your team or brand. To gain some knowledge and foster your organization. If the final product is good, people will pay for it. If you create something that meets your customers’ requirements, the money will appear.
Think about what principles you follow in creating innovations or running projects. You can pick some of my list. Or think of different ones. Don’t hesitate to have a different perspective on some things. That is good. If everyone were the same, the world would be a very boring place 🙂 Try to write your decalogue. Please bring it to life and don’t forget to follow it later.
Author: Wojciech Drewczyński
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