Today, in this world, change has become a phenomenon integral to an individual’s life. From something as small as buying vegetables to something as huge as an ideology of an organization, change can be seen as common to all of these. So, the question that arises is what drives ‘change’?
Among the many possibilities that emerge, one is innovation. Innovation may be defined differently by different people, owing to the context and nature of work. But the crux of the definition would be to instigate a change or come up with something novel.
So, when one refers to ‘innovation,’ one of the foremost ideas that surfaces are that of ‘novelty.’ Many of us would agree that innovation is nothing but coming up with the idea that is genuine and ‘fresh.’ True to an extent, it would be better to define innovation as the rearrangement of a set of ideas to suit an individual or an organization’s current requirements or interests.
For this rearrangement, attention needs to be paid to the fact that the feasibility factor is considered. An individual may think of an exquisite idea, but its applicability and feasibility within an organizational or a similar framework are also crucial.
An important way to look at things here would be through the ‘Lateral Approach’ as suggested by De Bono. According to this approach, an individual needs to think of the lateral possibilities or solutions to an impediment or problem instead of vertical or a methodological approach. This helps in broadening the choices available to an individual and find another way to the quandary.
Innovation could be said as a product of convention. A system of rules or a convention operative for a long time does undoubtedly introduce regularity but also enable a sense of monotony to seep into the working. It is in a situation like this that innovation comes in as a handy tool.
Many individuals believe that a spark of creativity needs to arise in them for innovation. Instead of the spark, it may be said that a ‘stimulus’ is required or needs to happen. Waiting for this stimulus to happen might sound apprehensive, so that the better approach would seek the stimulus. It could be self-generated, no doubt, but also could be borrowed.
In this regard, an essential factor of paramount importance would be receptiveness. One not only needs to listen to cues and signals around him but also the signals within him. Often, the voices within us about a schema of things go unheard or lost in the drone of convention and procedures.
To achieve innovation would also mean defining the problem. A problem unclearly defined would not give rise to clear thinking, impeding the growth of innovative ideas. So once the problem is defined, the next to follow is listing all possibilities for it. Another way to come up with an ‘Avant-grade’ solution or idea would be to work backward. This could be said to be an extension of a lateral thinking approach.
All of us have the urge to be creative, it’s just that we are encased within a certain framework.
So, the key things required to be innovative for all would be to be observant and listen to the mind, and ideas will follow!