Innovation at its finest
"We cannot solve a problem by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." — Albert Einstein
In today's world of fast-paced technological innovations—with new smartphone, tablet and computer launches that seem to happen daily—we might ask ourselves not how to stay ahead but simply how to keep up.
At Fluid we are dedicated to approaching each new project or client roadblock with creative, out-of-the-box thinking we hope leads to fresh ideas and innovation. I have been recently reading a book by Jeff Dyer and Clayton Christensen called The Innovator's DNA, which lays out what separates good companies and entrepreneurs from exceptional companies and innovators. The authors name four behavioral skills frequently engaged in by innovators:
- Questioning: Challenging the status quo and provoking new insights, connections and possibilities with questions.
- Observing: Carefully watching the world around you—including customers, products, services and technologies.
- Networking: Testing your ideas through a diverse network of people who vary wildly in backgrounds and perspectives. Bottom line—don't just talk to people like you; try to get a unique perspective by sharing ideas with people different than you. A great video clip from Dead Poets' Society with Robin Williams demonstrates this point:
- Experimenting: Continually try out new experiences and ideas. Visit new places, seek new information and then test your product or service with a friend or family member.
Nike was recently highlighted as the number one most innovative company of 2013 by Fast Company. Nike demonstrated each of these innovative skills in creating the Fuelband, a $150 electronic bracelet that measures your movements throughout the day, whether you play tennis, jog or just walk to work.
From Fast Company:
"The device won raves for its elegant design and a clean interface that lets users track activity with simple color cues (red for inactive; green if you've achieved your daily goal). Press its one button for a scrolling stock ticker of how many calories you've burned, the number of steps you've taken, and your total NikeFuel points, a proprietary metric of activity that Nike encourages you to share online. The FuelBand is the clearest sign that Nike has transformed itself into a digital force. 'Nike has broken out of apparel and into tech, data, and services, which is so hard for any company to do,' says Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps."
In short, try to look at the world in a different way, experiment and try new things when trying to solve a difficult problem. You may not become a $49 billion company like Nike, but at least you will have the satisfaction knowing that you have created something and are on track to being an innovator.
Remember, as the saying goes: "Innovation is anything but business as usual."