Innovation is Perspective
For those of you who have not been on the journey of discovering and understanding the what’s, why’s, and how’s of innovation, I want you to know that innovation is all about perspective. Innovation occurs when we look at something from a different perspective. That is to say from a different viewpoint or with a different mind-set.
A Different Perspective
For example, I remember when I was growing up; others often labeled me as “different.” Some decided that I was “smart,” others decided I was “crazy” or at the very least “annoying.” I suppose it is in all of us to want to sort, organize, or label all that we encounter, but it was this labelling that made me think about perspective. I have always felt that I was out of step with the masses. Perhaps it was because it appeared to me that I always perceived and interpreted what I encountered differently than others. At the time it was unclear to me as to why this difference in perception existed but, as time passed, I began to find hints that led me to a hypothesis that I now know to be a fact.
The Sources of Perspective
If you accept my premise that innovation occurs when we change our perspective, then the next obvious question is how do we accomplish this? As I explained earlier, I thought that I perceived the world from a different perspective. I didn’t understand how or why that was; I just observed that it was. I now think that the how is by approaching any challenge from a different perspective. The why is to succeed where others have failed (or at least to stay ahead of the pack!). Knowledge on innovation comes to us from many sources. Much of the data is fragmented, incomplete, or requires further interpretation. Some books are filled with tools and techniques. Some research articles cover small sections of innovation knowledge. Of course, some of the information is gleamed from our personal networks and meetings with like-minded individuals who have shared their perspectives.
As I have begun to understand innovations connection to perspective, I have been able to condense this information down to useful methods and techniques that I have incorporated into my training and facilitation efforts.
Is Crazy a Perspective?
Many of us have also met someone who seems to have been born with a creative gene. New ideas seem to flow from these people like water from a faucet. Perhaps they are really smart or perhaps just a little “crazy.”
You may recall an earlier post that I wrote entitled “Are you Creative of Just Crazy?” In this post I highlighted the divergent thinking of historically creative individuals. It was here that I made the connection between the likes of Mozart, Van Gogh, and Einstein and the lower quantity of dopamine receptors that highly creative people have. The different perspectives that were created by having less dopamine receptors allowed these individuals to thrive creatively.
Can You Learn Crazy?
Do you have to be crazy to be creative? Or can we learn how to overcome the high quantity of dopamine receptors in our brains and succeed at innovation? Can we learn how to generate innovative ideas by using unique techniques and methods? From the research and practice conducted where I work, I know that creative idea generation can be a learned skill. In fact, I have observed that with repeated practice, individuals that use these innovation tools become increasingly proficient at coming up with new creative ideas and solutions. Do these innovation tools emulate the crazy mind or do they train us to ignore our dopamine receptors? I don’t know. However what I do know is that you don’t have to be different than everyone else to be creative, you just have to practice thinking differently.