How to run a successful innovation workshop: Part 1 - Innovation is a state of mind

In the first in her series on how to run high-level innovation workshops, Karin looks at what it means to be in an innovative state of mind.

Karin Rudolph

Newicon Academy
·3 min read (733 words)
A visual representation of Innovation featuring a ceiling full of light bulbs.

Look around you. 

The space you are in right now.

Stop for a second and identify those things you enjoy, that make your life pleasant, the things that bring a sense of satisfaction. 

Anything.

A song you like is playing in the background or perhaps something you just bought or just the light filtering through your curtains.

Now with the same attitude look at those things you dislike, that you find distracting or unpleasant, it can be something you're doing, or an aspect of your daily routine. 

Anything that is bothering you.

Then imagine for a second that you have the power to modify, transform those things that are unpleasant. 

And imagine how liberating that would be.

This is how an innovator sees the world.

Where other people see problems and obstacles, innovators see opportunities, lots of them. 

And their minds fill with excitement.

Get in the flow

To allow innovation to flow, start by positioning yourself into a new mindset where ideas flourish, and problems and barriers become opportunities.

Innovation is a state of mind, an attitude that can be developed by anyone and that will help you to look at things from different perspectives. 

It’s inside your thoughts, ideas, and above all, your frustrations where unexpected connections are made and new realities emerge.

And the good news is each one of us can do it.

Innovation is about harnessing failure

The idea of developing a mindset that can be applied to innovation has been around for a long time. Perhaps one of the most popular is the concept of a growth mindset formulated more than 30 years ago by psychologist Carol Dweck while researching people’s attitudes towards failure.

In a nutshell, someone with a growth mindset sees the world as a place full of opportunities, where difficulties can be overcome, new skills can be developed, and challenges exist to be embraced.

At the other end, you find people with a fixed mindset, those who will avoid challenging situations, as they believe that their efforts won’t change anything, the world is a fixed place and they are powerless to transform anything in it.

This mindset leads to inaction and the feeling of being overwhelmed by a sense of failure and despair.

Instead of failure, innovators consider these steps a part of a process, as attempts to achieve their goal, a continuum in which each step provides the necessary to move to the next one.

Embrace complexity 

At the centre of any innovation, you will have humans, people who will be involved in one way or another interacting with your product, service or design.

Humans have complex beliefs, ideas, and sometimes unpredictable behaviours and as an innovator, you want to embrace some of that chaos.

Understanding different situations, experiences, and interactions will help you to anticipate and envision new ways of doing things.

And this is key to innovation.

Going beyond easy explanations will allow you to explore not only the how but also why people behave in the way they do.

Forward-thinking

With this new attitude, you can start experimenting with new ideas, testing new approaches and start making subtle changes, envisioning the new reality that you want to see.

Your goal can be as ambitious as you like at this stage.

That’s fine, as you are exercising the creativity needed to become a forward thinker.

Taking inspiration from Raymond Loewy and his concept of Most Advanced Yet Acceptable, also known as the Maya Principle, a key element to innovate would be to bring small but gradual changes, considering the future while understanding people’s present.

The idea that something is acceptable means that you fully understand people’s needs and their expectations and from this point, you start developing solutions that can bring change without the risk of creating something that nobody will understand.

Because innovation is not about designing an impossible world, but designing something that will bring the future closer to us.

Anyone can become an innovator, as this an attitude that resides in the mind.

And you don’t need ping pong tables or multi-colour walls to be an innovator!

These are great accessories, sure, but you don’t need them.

Here at Newicon we have developed a tool that will help you to unleash the innovative creativity in you and your teams

Want to know more?

Don’t miss our next blog where we will be exploring problem spaces.

See you there!

 


I'm Karin Rudolph

Newicon Academy at Newicon

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