These five practical steps surfaced during interviews with the likes of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, eBay’s Pierre Omidyar and Michael Dell and are reported in the Harvard Business Review.
“Most executives view creativity and innovation as a ‘black box,’ or something other people are good at, but they don’t know how to do it themselves,” said Jeffrey H. Dyer, lead author on the study and a professor at Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management. “We’re opening up the box to see what behaviors they can engage in that will trigger those new ideas.”
Dyer and his co-authors, Hal B. Gregersen of INSEAD and Clayton M. Christensen of Harvard Business School, began asking famous and non-famous, innovators how they came up with their best insights.
“In almost every case they could describe engaging in a behavior before having the idea,” said Dyer, a former Bain consultant who also holds a joint appointment at the Wharton School of Business. “Something they had watched, someone they had talked to, some sort of experiment they had conducted, or some question they had asked, was the trigger for the idea.”
The researchers folded those patterns into their survey of more than 3,000 execs and 500 individuals who had started innovative companies or invented new products. Then they analyzed the results with statistical tools to find which activities correlated with innovative ideas. They paid special attention to behaviors that innovative executives practiced that others did not.
Here are the five “discovery skills” that emerged, along with specific actions you can take to implement them:
“It became clear early on that these folks asked a lot more questions than your typical executive,” Dyer said. “Especially questions that challenge the status quo.”
•Write 10 questions each day that challenge assumptions in your company or industry.
Asking “why?” “why not?” and “what if?” spur creative thinking. Embrace constraints. For example, ask, “If we were legally barred from doing things the way we do them now, what would we do?”
“But if you just sit in your room and question all day, you are not going to start an innovative business,” says Dyer, who chairs the Marriott School’s Department of Organizational Leadership and Strategy. “There’s an action-oriented attitude that is captured in observing and these other skills.”
•Watch people, especially potential customers. Watch how customers experience a product or service in their natural environment. Focus on what’s different than you expected.
•Seek training outside your expertise. Take apart a product or process just to see how it works.
Living in a different country and culture is an excellent opportunity to experiment, says coauthor Gregersen.
"You can't succeed in living overseas without using these discovery skills," he says."The constant practice of those skills--required by the novel cultural environment--not only helps people in their present challenges, but also prepares them for equally interesting (but qualitatively different) challenges later.
“Rather than network to gain access to resources or to market yourself, connect with others simply to find and test new ideas. This will widen your perspective,” Dyer says.
•Contact the five most creative people you know and ask them to share what they do to stimulate creative thinking. Go to conferences that include people from outside your industry.
•Connecting seemingly unrelated questions and ideas is the skill that brings all the others together, Dyer explains.
But associating is triggered by new knowledge that is acquired through questioning, observing, experimenting, and networking.
The researchers noted that the senior executives of the most innovative companies in their study don’t delegate creative work. So how do they make time for these innovation skills?
They enlist others’ help in planning and analysis, the skills that are important for executing rather than innovation, Dyer said.
“Contrary to conventional wisdom, innovation isn’t a genetic endowment magically given to some and not others; it’s a set of skills that can be developed with practice,” Dyer says. “If you want to be one of the really successful people that make a mark in business, you want to be the person that comes up with the idea, not just the person who carries out others’ ideas.”
Michael Smart | Newswise Science News
Drought hits rivers first and more strongly than agriculture
06.09.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie
Landslides triggered by human activity on the rise
23.08.2018 | European Geosciences Union
The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.
This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.
Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...
Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.
"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...
A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.
Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...
Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.
An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...
21.09.2018 | Event News
03.09.2018 | Event News
27.08.2018 | Event News
21.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
21.09.2018 | Life Sciences
21.09.2018 | Event News