Think creatively everywhere. You can start the process by asking WHAT IF….

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Think when you are out walking, when you are in the shower, when you are listening to a boring speaker (not me of course).

Use the Memorial Day Weekend to think about new solutions…new ideas…new way to find new opportunities using existing resources.

Switch your mind off and think about that problem that has been bugging you.

Don’t bother with contrived brainstorming sessions and working parties, because you cannot plan to create on demand.

But you can organize your mind to be constantly receptive to new ideas wherever you happen to be.

Here’s two examples of what I mean; In 1941, a scientist went hunting with his dog. When he arrived home, he found that wood-burs were stuck to his woolen jacket and trousers. He was fascinated with the burrs ability to grab hold of his clothing so tenaciously and decided to examine them to find out WHY. Carefully inspecting the burs under a microscope, he found hundreds of little hooks engaging the loops in the material. The scientist, George de Mestral, made a machine to duplicate the hooks and loops in nylon. He called his new product Velcro®, and the rest is history. Today thousands of uses for Velcro® Fasteners exist, in both personal use and industry. This is all thanks to a man hunting with his dog in the mountains who was willing to ask WHAT IF… and followed it to where it led him..

Then there is a story about a young girl’s birthday party demands and how they spawned a true INNOVATION in the world of photography. Daddy , happily snapping shot after shot of her and her friends was mildly put out when his little daughter stamped her foot and demanded “I want to see my pictures, NOW, Daddy!” Her Daddy happened to be Edward Land. Her demands started his i wheels turning; : “Well, why can’t she have the pictures now?” The INNOVATIVE solution that came from a 5 year old’s party was the Polariod LAND camera. It occurs to us, with example after example of real INNOVATION that comes because people recognize a need that can be met and, IF ONLY…… WHAT IF? Are part of their vocabulary. Perhaps we all need to think more like a child and imagine that we can have that picture now. Zoom ahead a few years and we see that Polaroid is in bankruptcy. They missed the digital revolution because they forgot the modest beginnings. How could this happen? Today the name Polaroid is used on many products because the brand had relevancy. So it was sold to a company that is a multinational consumer electronics and eyewear company, and former instant camera and film maker. Even with the ‘big boys’ Shift Happens!

HOW DO YOU APPLY INNOVATIVE THINKING?
The only problem with thinking everywhere is that we often don’t have a way to record our ideas when they come to us.
Then we forget then someone one else hits on the same idea and it’s too late. The solution is to use your smart phone, tablet and/or keep a pen and paper handy in every room of the house, especially by your bed and near the shower. When you are driving, use a dictating machine in the car. This way you can archive your thoughts before you forget them.

Chance discoveries do not really occur by chance.
Rather, an environment must be one that allows new ideas to be conceived, recognized for their potential contribution, expanded into tailor-made solutions, and then finally developed into products for other customers.
And the best way to arrive at innovative solutions is to use innovative thinking.

Ask questions; such as, “Why do we do it this way?”

And ask them to answer the question, then quickly ask again…WHAT IF…

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The important next step is to be open to the wild conjectures that accompany real creative thinking.

Remember, in a truly creative culture NOTHING IS EVER WRONG. Some ideas simply work better than others.

Nurture new ideas and welcome the questions as a way to open the channels of communication and keep the stream of possible solutions flowing.

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