Tips for Improving your Innovation Techniques at your Workplace
Research - the first thing that comes to our mind whenever we hear the word is a lab, scientists holding test tubes, white lab coats etc. Well, that is research too but it is not just what is called research. In the corporate world, business research means collecting data regarding the market, competitors, to understand their consumers, consumer behaviors, the population that they are targeting, what kind of goods or services they are going to provide. Organizations need to figure out their Unique Selling Points (USPs) before releasing products in the market. Research helps to identify opportunities and threats for an organization. In business, research means asking research questions about where the money can be sent, how to increase the sales and profits, and how to minimize the cost and make optimum utilization of the research and resources.
The basis of any research is an idea. Whenever an idea strikes in, research begins to revolve around it. Before idea generation the research is conducted on a general base level i.e. in general, exploring and trying things out using inductive approach i.e. going from specific to general. After exploring the available options the individual starts focusing on one or particular subject i.e. using deductive approach. Anyways, ideas are something that can be generated out of the blue or after a detailed, thorough study or analysis of the available resources using different approaches.
Creativity plays a crucial role in idea generation. Creativity is the tendency to generate ideas , to create something new / different by making the optimum utilization of the resources available, to find the alternatives while problem solving and communicating with others. Creative techniques that initiate creative actions, these techniques focus on idea generation, divergent thinking, methods required for problem solving and critical thinking. Two of the most common techniques are aleatory techniques (using available elements, resources on hand and putting them to use) and incubation techniques of creativity.
In simple words, aleatory techniques mean amalgamating random elements of chance that are available or given to generate new ideas. These techniques can be widely used during the times of crisis when instant decision making and problem skill is required. The market being volatile, uncertainty is an ongoing factor so the organization needs to be flexible and prompt with all the external factors that can affect them internally. So the organization needs to change its policies according to that. Even the changes occurring internally in the organization, the managers and the employees need to be acquainted with it accordingly.
Incubation techniques means consciously diverting the mind from the assigned task. It basically means to remove the “block in the head”. This happens with almost all of us, in general when we want to work but feel as if the brain isn’t working which hampers our creativity. Creativity can be hampered because of exhaustion, or redundancy of work, extra load of work and even boredom. Incubation technique is used to remove that block and try to think out of the box. At this stage you need to take a step back from the problem and let your mind wander or go through it and then let your brain think of all the possibilities. You should be open to ideas i.e. unconsciously brainstorming. For example, going for a walk, run, binge watch, paint, cook, eat, take a long nap, go on vacation or a trip etc. This technique helps in idea generation and leads to divergent thinking and helping your Incubation as a successful process.
Why is it essential to consider alternatives and different approaches for every situation? Why do we need to explore possibilities while dealing with any situation? One of the reasons is that generally better and more ideas are generated while considering other alternatives. Another reason behind exploring possibilities is to reduce the uncertainties and the risk factor. The major trick here could be, before planning and executing the plan there has to be a plan B in case plan A is not executable due to other reasons. It provides perspective from a different lens. Which increases the ability of divergent thinking i.e. thinking from all the perspective, thinking on a larger scale, and in various directions. This process enables us to think about more than two sides of any situation. ‘Think out of the box’ is the basic principle of the process of exploring possibilities as it pushes the individual or any organization to move out of their comfort zone.
Morphological analysis is very similar to the process of exploring possibilities. The team or the members of the organization, should find all the possible alternatives while finding solutions to any problem that occurs. It is the process of creating ideas by analyzing the existing information available at the hand and making changes as per convenience and requirements. Morphological analysis is the method of breaking down the information into subtopics / concepts, each concept representing each criteria of the information. This process helps in generating new ideas and replacing the ones that are not required or the ones that cannot be implemented in the current situation. The analysis helps to think and look into the concepts which might have been overlooked previously, gives a clear idea, helps in problem solving and decision making.
The process of modeling concepts is very similar to the process of morphological analysis. During this process the complex ideas are broken down into simple forms. This process helps to plan the strategies as per the situation demands. This skill helps a lot when the strategies planned by the upper management need to be explained to the employees. The management needs to keep the chain of communication simpler to avoid confusions that might occur due to misinterpretation of the information conveyed. Sometimes creativity can be vague, or very complicated i.e. the idea cannot be explained easily, during such situations the skill of modeling concepts comes into use.
Framing problems is required to provide a direction to head into while solving a particular problem. As without a proper direction the ideas generated might not be as per the need of the time and can be vague. We can also say that the process of creativity can slow down or the individual can face a mental block without knowing in which direction he/she should think i.e. the individual can be clouded and may find difficulty to understand the real problem for which the solution is required. Framing problem is a problem solving technique where the team needs to think of the solutions by analyzing the details. It helps to prioritize the obstacles and issues that need first hand attention. It is a better way to focus on the minute details of the problem to find the solution to rectify the situation.
In the end, all these techniques are required to enhance the creative ability of an individual and how creativity is required for problem solving and decision making. All these techniques widen the perspectives of the organization or team or any individual and enhance the ability of divergent thinking.
As professionals you can surely enhance your abilities by using these strategies and tips for improving your innovation techniques! These are scientifically proven methods by psychologists that assist organizations to drive great work skills.
Hope you found this article helpful. If you or your organization is interested to learn more about such attributes and behavioral skills at the workplace, feel free to get in touch with us at RGB Training Services!