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p. +61 3 9018 7455 f. +61 3 9528 4787 e. info@inventium .com .au PO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood, VIC, Australia 3184 Inventium http://www.inventium.com.au/ Back in 2006, Inventium’s founder, Dr Amantha Imber was working as a consumer psychologist in a big advertising agency. The agency had put her through a lot of creative thinking training which she loved. However, when she started getting deeper into researching the field, she realised that all these training companies had done was rip off Edward de Bono techniques from the 70s and re-package them as their own. She thought that, ironically, this was pretty uncreative. p. +61 3 9018 7455 f. +61 3 9528 4787 m. +61 (0) 412 6565 38 PO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood, VIC, Australia 3184 Amantha had always been a bit of a science geek and kept reading the jargon-filled academic journals long after leaving university. She noticed that there were hundreds, if not thousands, of studies being conducted around the world that looked at what variables increased a person’s ability to think more creatively and a company’s ability to innovate. However, she realised that there was a great divide between this great research that was being done in the world of academia, and what was actually getting used in the ‘real world’. So in 2007, she had the idea of starting a company that applied the science of psychology and neurology to boosting creativity and innovation - something that had never been done before. Since Inventium opened its doors, Amantha and her team, have helped literally thousands of people across Australia, the United States, the UK, Europe, Africa and New Zealand improve their ability to generate great ideas. p. +61 3 9018 7455 f. +61 3 9528 4787 m. +61 (0) 412 6565 38 e. info@inventium .com .au PO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood, VIC, Australia 3184 Second of all, give people a sense of Five ways to inspire progress. Research employee motivation and engagement and learn how these innovation impact on innovation and performance. A Ok, so you have identified the need to recent study revealed that the majority of managers wrongly believe 'recognition for innovate within your business or organisation, but where on earth do you good work' (either public or private) to be the most important factor. However, the start? Or perhaps you already have started, but you have hit a plateau and need to most important factor was revealed to be ramp things up again? Whatever the case, 'progress'. The study revealed that making progress was most frequently associated here are five simple ways you can inspire your team – and yourself – to innovate. with high motivation, positive emotions and innovation, more so than any other First of all, make it challenging. No one ever workday event. Managers should therefore came up with a great idea from being given ensure that they are provide goals that a really simple task. Easy and enable progress to be made and straightforward tasks do not breed acknowledged. As individuals, we should creativity. Likewise, when people are also set ourselves small goals that we can stressed and tearing their hair out, it is not work and progress towards. likely to will come up with any great ideas. Make sure that both you and your team feel Thirdly, provide autonomy. As a manager, it significantly challenged by the problems is incredibly tempting to tell people how to get from A to B, however, this temptation and projects you are working on. When humans feel challenged they naturally like must be resisted as it completely kills to solve these challenges, and when an easy innovation. If you simply tell people how to solve problems, they will lack the answer does not immediately present itself, that is our moment for our creativity to motivation to come up with better solutions themselves. Instead, ensure people are shine. p. +61 3 9018 7455 f. +61 3 9528 4787 m. +61 (0) 412 6565 38 e. info@inventium .com .au PO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood, VIC, Australia 3184 clear on the problem that has to be solved, innovation. Asking people to submit any old and give them the room to explore how idea into a suggestion box will result in a they can get from A to B. When people have stack of ideas that are completely off autonomy and flexibility, they come up with strategy. To ensure time spent on significantly more innovative solutions. innovation and idea generation is as productive and efficient as possible, make Fourth, you must encourage assumption sure you spend time defining the key crushing. Think about whenever you are problems and opportunities that you want faced with a problem to solve, there is always a bunch of assumptions sitting in the your team to innovate around. This means that the ideas you receive will complement back of your head. These relate to things the overall business strategy. you automatically assume to be true about the problem, however, the bad thing about How to overcome these assumptions is that they effectively put up a fence in our brain that limits “Team-think” thinking from moving beyond that point. Inspire people to come up with more Most of us have been a victim of groupthink innovative solutions to problems by at some stage in our working lives. If you identifying and then crushing the have been sitting with the same team for assumptions they have by asking the past year, you’ve probably also become themselves, “What if the opposite was a victim of ‘team-think’. true?” By asking this question of every assumption they make, they will get to This happens a lot in companies that deal some very inventive solutions. with similar problems for their various clients. I work with several advertising and Finally, provide clear problems and media agencies and often the key issue for opportunities for people to solve. This many of their clients is generating might sound a bit obvious, but few awareness for their products. When the organisations do this well in regards to p. +61 3 9018 7455 f. +61 3 9528 4787 m. +61 (0) 412 6565 38 e. info@inventium .com .au PO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood, VIC, Australia 3184 agency tries to generate ideas on how to do one workshop for a national postal services this, the strategies tend to revolve around organisation, we had the artistic director of the same few media channels, such as TV, a circus troupe, a creative director from an print and outdoor campaigns, or creating a advertising agency, an 18-year-old viral video and posting it on YouTube. university student and a TV host. Needless to say, the ideas generated in the workshop Research suggests that teams which have were wonderfully varied. been together for a while develop a set of entrenched assumptions, ways of doing So, rather than try to think creatively on things and set patterns of behaviour. The your own, try to partner up with someone good news is there is a cure: introducing a you don’t normally work with. Use them as new member to the team. Studies show a springboard for fleshing out your ideas that when a new member joins a team, and let them go in directions you wouldn’t existing assumptions, attitudes and if you were working on your own. Most behaviours are far less likely to be importantly, listen to their input and be activated. The new person triggers new open to going in directions you would not thoughts and behaviours. normally. While it can be tempting to leave Creativity loves harmonious teams alone, rotating employees around to different teams regularly, say every 6–8 months, can boundaries considerably enhance creativity. Letting your mind wander wherever it When I run idea-generation sessions for needs to, starting with a blank canvas and clients, I almost always insist they invite being free of rules are all considered conducive to creativity? However, the latest people who do not work for their company. I encourage them to include as diverse a psychological research has shown the complete opposite. mix of people as possible. For example, in p. +61 3 9018 7455 m. +61 (0) 412 6565 38 e. info@inventium .com .au PO Box 1251, Brighton Rd LPO, Elwood, VIC, Australia 3184 In one study, a group of adults was asked to to complete, our brains switch into make a construction using Lego. One group autopilot if it is a familiar problem. was given no constraints; they were told that they could build whatever they liked. However, this autopilot mode dramatically impairs performance when we have to think The other group had several constraints placed upon them; they were told that their of completely novel ideas. Constraining the construction must contain no right-angled way we think forces us to search for new and creative ways of completing the task or joints and they could only use one kind of brick. solving the problem. In a paradoxical way, putting constraints on our tasks lifts the The constructions built by the ‘constraints’ constraints on our thought processing. group were judged to be significantly more creative and lateral than those in the ‘free Here are a couple of tips to help apply these findings: expression’ group. - Try to avoid taking on tasks that are So why does this happen? When completing open-ended and overly broad. If you find tasks, we typically draw on what we know yourself in this situation, challenge yourself rather than seeking new ideas and opinions. to apply a constraint to the task to make Often, information retrieval becomes yourself perform more creatively. automated in our brains because it is useful - Whenever you feel yourself going into and saves us having to come up with new autopilot, ask your boss to apply a solutions every time we face a problem. In constraint to the task (or do it yourself). other words, when we are assigned a task
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