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4 easy ways to improve our innovation habits

What does Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s ‘Ideas Boom’ mean for you?

PM Turnbull finished 2015 with a boom – an innovation ‘Ideas Boom’ that looks set to transform the future of innovation across Australia.

With boosts to cyber security, CSIRO, women in STEM fields and biomedical research, the government is looking for this innovation agenda to create a more modern, dynamic economy.

So how do we begin this process?

How do we match up to the Prime Minister’s grand innovation vision?

While Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s December 2015 announcement was exciting for many of us, some key information not widely reported is that Australia is currently ranked 17th which is near the bottom of the top group of mostly OECD innovators.

This means that across world economies, our innovation efforts rank just a whisker from Iceland, a country of some 300,000 people.

The countries that rank the highest on this recognised scale – Switzerland, UK, Sweden and Finland – all invest in innovation and new products in the marketplace.

Finland, in particular, is known for the principles of creativity and innovation spreading through every part of its society.

I’ve blogged previously about the Shark’s Fin – how there are trial users in the market… then everyone else.

We need to move fast; we need to get in and get out while the going’s good.

 With new products in a fast lifecycle, your profits increase. Without that speed to market? ‘Big bang’ disruption is going to topple you off your perch. If other companies are moving quicker than you are, it actually erodes your profits and market position.

So how do we as business owners and innovators embrace Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s brave new world? How do we make the most of this boom every day?

How do innovators in global economies operate in ways we are still discovering?

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Look around: What are the innovation habits of the very best?

 1. Don’t be afraid to lean in and fail Ideas fast

But be smart about it. While many businesses people and politicians have great ideas, the savvy innovators lean into the solutions and ideas they are creating. They solve real customer problems and judiciously pursue ideas that create great products and services that customers' will love, will value and pay for, and cut ideas that don’t meet that criteria.

Lean into good ideas and fail fast ideas that do not meet the cut.

2. Be a quick learner and connect ideas

Further to this, great innovators are also quick learners. They learn from history, past lessons and failures, and then work to improve upon them in new and better contexts. The ability to evolve products and services creatively can be accelerated by making meaningful connections between seemingly unrelated customer value propositions. If you read widely and take on new interests outside your comfort zone, you can connect to wider ideas.

In my post on adding ideas to ideas, I discussed the process of applying cumulative insights, built on the multiple efforts and breakthroughs of previous attempts. By taking the best insights and then adding ideas this can lead to your next truly innovative product that your customers love.

Remember, it only takes just one great business idea to change a lifetime.

3. Challenge and always be curious.

Great innovators have the uncanny ability to challenge current thinking, norms and processes.

They are curious to see opportunities outside current boundaries and in the extreme. In their Design Tool Kit for Extremes and Mainstreams, IDEO.org talks about thinking about solutions in terms of the needs of users and customers who are both on the extremes, and those squarely in the middle of your audience.

In looking for better ways to do things, an optimistic innovator will always be curious about concepts across the spectrum and spark creative thinking on the far reaches. By exposing yourself to wide thinking, use cases, hacks and design opportunities previously unimagined.

4. Be divergent, and break some rules

The best innovators see opportunity beyond current boundaries.

They are divergent thinkers who can connect wide concepts into new patterns of work, products or services. They can connect ideas, people and knowledge into new and unorthodox combinations and patterns.

By seeing opportunity in the people and world around them, this restlessness translates to doing something new and achieving new insights every

Let’s face it. None of us will immediately emulate the feats of Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, or any of the other big-name innovators commonly idolised.

But what we can do in Australia is start changing our innovation habits.

How are you planning to step up your ‘ideas boom’ in 2016?


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Idea Accelerator is an easy and proven method that helps people rapidly act on their ideas, help get concepts to market faster, engage customers, and be more profitable.