Six Steps to Creativity and Innovation by Frank Shines

The Six Steps to Creativity and Innovation show that becoming more creative and innovative is a process that can be learned — reducing risk and improving your odds of success.

Frank Shines on Innovation from Disruptive Technology

Frank Shines on Innovation from Disruptive Technology

Creativity and innovation is not just magic.  I’ve found that it is a process that can be learned. And while some people will be better at it than others, we can all get better.  Each  of us can make our surroundings more receptive to innovation and can improve our creative skills.

Why Become More Innovative?

You can learn how to be more creative and innovative in order to:

  • help others
  • attract more enriching and higher paying jobs
  • pass on what you’ve learned to inspire your kids, family members, friends
  • earn a promotion or bonus in your current organization
  • develop new product and service ideas to grow your department or your business
  • simply feel better about yourself

Whatever it is that motivate you to become more creative and innovative, it’s a good one.  Why always work harder if we can work harder.

Six Steps to Innovation

In short, here are the 6 steps I’ve found to creative success:

  1. First of all, the environment must be safe for creativity and all must be allowed to contribute equally.  Latest data from a four year Google study (Project Aristotle) shows this to be vital for great teams to flourish.
  2. Get exposure to lots of ideas, data, and what appears to be unrelated information (this is your source for creative insights!).Then “connect the dots” in novel and utilitarian ways.
  3. Practice empathy and lean to see patterns.  Then “connect the dots” in novel and utilitarian ways.
  4. Slow down, reflect, vet and test out your assumptions and ideas.  Test things on a small scale in order to fail fast with minimized risk and understand what truly works.
  5. Refine your idea with a critical mass of early adopters and scale all processes and systems.
  6. Finally, conduct an ongoing assessment of the market and environment to understand when to make incremental improvements or innovative breakthroughs.

Tools & Resources for Creativity & Innovation

As a former cellist, artist and vocal jazz performer, I have drawn upon several methods to improve my creativity and innovation and to help others do the same.  Here is a short list of resources that I think you will find useful:

  • Lateral Thinking by Dr Edward de Bono, leading authority on creativity. Once I understood the genius of lateral thinking, my creative skills and my bank account grew beyond my wildest dreams.
  • 40 Principles of TRIZ and the Contradiction Matrix.  Proven solution sets to complex problems with a body of knowledge that dates back to WWII and a Russian patent office engineer.  Boeing, Apple, IBM, Google and others draw upon these sound principles to create breakthroughs.
  • (6) Six Thinking Hats. Dr DeBono’s simple, yet powerful approach to jump-starting innovation immediately.
  • Six Tools for Creativity posted by Fast Company is a good list of ways to boost creativity, with such techniques as walking, napping, writing with pen and paper, etc.  Steve Jobs and my rich uncle are known for taking long walks.
  • Adobe Kickbox – Among best stuff I’ve found on the topic of innovation and creativity; provides a step by step approach.