You may not be able to twitch like Elvis, dunk like Jordan, or sing like Sinatra, but you can definitely innovate like Edison. Although some of us might think this is impossible, here is the good news – innovation is not a trait that some people just happen to be born with. Innovation, like the muscles in your body, just needs to be developed and exercised regularly. So, rather than going for flat abs in 30 days, or a toned tush in 20, you might consider trying these exercises that experts say may turn you into the next Steve Jobs. Here is the summation from Scott Berkun's "The Myths of Innovation":
1. Persistence – In the face of roadblocks, we need to rely on faith, hard work, and a laser-sharp focus on the end result to keep pursuing our vision.
2. Limit Self-Inhibiting Behavior – We need to free ourselves from inner-created constraints by removing assumptions and restrictions. The great thing, is that innovation is more about psychology than intellect.
3. Take Risks, Make Mistakes – A part of the reason why we create self-imposed inhibition is due to our fear of failure. Instead of punishing yourself for your failures, accept them. Then, take your newfound knowledge and put it towards finding the best solution.
4. Escape – Our environment can and does affect how we feel. The more relaxed and calm we are internally, the more receptive we are to tapping into our flowing creativity. Experiment and find what works for you.
5. Write Things Down – Many innovators and creative people keep a journal to jot down ideas and thoughts. We need a method to capture our thoughts, to think on paper, to lose our inhibitions and start the creative process.
6. Find Patterns and Create Combinations – Ideas come from other ideas. Look for the patterns, and then use them to expand the solutions.
7. Be Curious – Practice seeing things differently. Ask a lot of questions and challenge the norms or existing methods.
And while it isn't on Berkun's list, I think there is great power in letting yourself be a kid again. Have fun and don't worry so much on what others might think. After all, it's just brainstorming...that is, until you create the "next big thing".
Are you open to innovation, now that you know you have it in you?