At a recent conference which I was invited to speak at, I shared on the topic of “Ideation”.  In a world where me-too products and services are becoming more and more proliferated, there is a dire need for companies who want to differentiate their wares to start pulling bright ideas out of the bag.  Inventory alone and good customer service is at most times insufficient to draw in the customers.  The consumers of today are spoilt for choice.  If they can’t get what they want where they are, there’s always e-shopping they can call on to accord them breadth of choice.

It’s no wonder that more and more creative consultancies are sprouting out all over the world.  Corporations across the board have become accustomed to working with external partners to help them innovate.  And invariably, brainstorm sessions and ideation workshops come as part and parcel of the offerings.

Ideas, however, as quite a few exponents have attested to, are not necessarily plucked from the air so to speak.  They are developed, on many occasions, from a combination of two or more existing ones.  Take for example the trolley bag, which was quite a breakthrough when it was first introduced.  However, if you look at it in more detail, it came about by merely combining a bag with a set of wheels.  The same goes also for combination locks – which is merely combining a simple lock with the technology that is employed in the locking mechanism for bank vaults and safes.  Why don’t you try this out – start looking at the things around you and break them down into the original two or more basic products which they were once before.  It’s a real fun exercise!

I’m sure most of you know about thinking outside the box.  To me, there is a fundamental flaw in this – and it the fact that the box is still there.  When you try and innovate to come up with new ideas only to have them rejected by your conservative boss, there is always the tendency after a few repeated incidents to climb back into the box and to give up trying.  One of the principles I spoke about at the event was to do with “burning the box”.   When the box is no more there for you to fall back on much alike a security blanket, you have no choice but to continue “pushing the envelope” and ideating!

The world needs more people to burn the box and bring new things to the table.  Whatever the situation may be, whatever your occupation or situation may be, there is always a good reason to innovate.  Thinking up new things is not just confined to the folks from the creative industry.  It cuts right across the board. Engineers can do it, accountants can do it [well, I’m not quite sure about creative accounting though], restauranteurs can do it, sportspeople can do it.

Being able to think creatively provides the “fabric” and depth to our lives. It supports the emotive part of our psyche and reinforces our ability to come up with something new all the time.  It makes us unique and provides us a sharper edge in our personality.  If you’ve never done so, why not jump on this bandwagon right now and see what interesting innovations await you!