Get Unstuck When Innovating

  • Share
  • Read Later

To innovate, you need to think differently. If you find yourself struggling to get something started or you’re stuck in the middle of a project, try to get into a new frame of mind:

  • Get inspiration from outside. Think about what problems your customers are trying to solve. Spend time with them to understand what they actually need and how you might help them.
  • Learn from mistakes. There’s no such thing as a perfect plan. Assume your first idea is partially right and partially wrong, and then reassess your approach.
  • Resist the pull of the core. Don’t shift ideas toward how you currently operate, even if that’s what you’re most comfortable doing.

Adapted from “Four Ways to Think Like an Innovator” by Scott Anthony.

Visit Harvard Business Review’s Management Tip homepage

Purchase the HBR Management Tips book

1 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Merydith Willoughby
Merydith Willoughby

A solution to lack of innovative thinking can be very simple – take time out; rest, relax and let the mind wander. Free it up so that your unconscious mind can go to work and come up with the solutions you want.

The excerpt below is from my second book Sex in the Boardroom outlining my thoughts on how valuable ‘just thinking’ can be to the executive.

Thinking

In the modern workplace, someone who is sitting and thinking is typically assumed to be bludging, wasting time and generally being unproductive. If they really were committed to their work, they’d surely be doing something... Lord knows, there’s always something to do!

As a society in general and in the workplace more specifically, we have ceased valuing thinking time, instead seeing it as a virtue to always be busy. Time is limited and there’s much to do. No time to waste on thinking just yet. Once on a treadmill it is hard to get off and just about impossible to stand still long enough to see what you really need to see.

It is easy for executives who are stuck on a treadmill to fall into the trap of believing that working longer is the only way to achieve their organisation’s goals. But if they don’t stop to reflect on their priorities first, working harder and harder is unlikely to change anything for the best...