I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities. ~Dr. Seuss
Being observant and looking at situations for opportunity and as a source of ideas is at the heart of being a great innovator.
In “The Innovator’s DNA”, Jeffrey Dyer and Hal Gregersen, and Clay Christensen pinpoint five characteristics demonstrated by great innovators:
Associating: drawing connections between questions, problems, or ideas from unrelated fields
Questioning: posing queries that challenge common wisdom,
Observing: scrutinizing the behavior of customers, suppliers, and competitors to identify new ways of doing things,
Experimenting: constructing interactive experiences and provoking unorthodox responses to see what insights emerge, and
Networking: meeting people with different ideas and perspectives.
How can we use these traits to enhance what your tribe experiences from your communications?
Look at what else your clients buy. Study how and why they do what they do. Form alliances with a few of the people who provide these complimentary products. The purpose of the alliance is to generate ideas and ways to better serve your mutual market niche. You can even guest post on each other’s websites. In addition look at activity in other markets. For example, if you’re in the technology market, see what you can learn from the consumer products industry. As ideas come, think of how you can experiment (see below) to see if it could work for you.
Ask different more thought provoking questions. Change “what is important” questions into “what would be different” questions and “why is this important questions” and “how have you approached this” questions. Turn these questions into a research study and make the results available to your clients.
Read what others are writing. Capture ideas from how your clients market their product – think about what can you learn about how you can help them. Take note of what your competitors are writing about and how they are marketing. Think of ways you can differentiate yourself – how can you offer similar products at a lower cost or higher valued products at a premium cost.
Place ideas on your website and seek comments. Link to discussions on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The goal is to get people talking about your ideas. Get people excited about participating by discussing ideas they’re interested in. Use ideas from clients to help them get feedback. Track feedback and send people summary findings. The longer you can keep the discussion of an idea alive, the more exposure you receive. Set a goal to become a thought leader in your specialty. This way you become a go to person for advice.
As you exchange ideas with people, take note of information you can use in your website content. Set up an area of your website with special information and send people you meet to this area as a gift to them. Be sure to give approbation to people for their thoughts as you use them in your website content. Continue discussion started at a networking event on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. This way you can get others involved and expand the reach of your ideas. Again, use information from these discussions to add value to your website content. While you’re at it, give others ideas how to add value to their website content. Adding value to others is never out of style.
Ideas are essential”¦ but even more so is taking action and turning great ideas into opportunities and turning these opportunities into growth.