During the ADMA Global Forum, Innovation psychologist Dr Amantha Imber shared three practical techniques to help drive innovative thinking and start the innovation clogs ticking within a business.
Imber, founder of innovation consultancy Inventium, discussed the science behind innovation and how it can relate to brands and marketing.
Imber’s three tips to inspiring innovation are:
Assumptions Are A Killer
“If you think about any kind of challenge that you’re trying to solve, what will be sitting in the back of your head are assumptions,” Imber said. “They can be real, like budgetary ones or they can be perceived, just things that we think. But what assumptions essentially do is they fence in our thinking.
“One way to instantly improve our ability to innovate is to identify those assumptions that we hold and crush them by simply asking what if the opposite was true? Through asking that question you can’t help but find interesting, novel and innovative solutions to the problem you’re trying to solve.”
An examples of a brand that has crushed assumptions: Apple iPhone changing the mobile phone interface.
Put Yourself In Someone Else’s Shoes
“We can’t help but solve problems from our own point of view,” Imber said. “The problem with that is if we’re solving things from the same point of view, we’re generally going to come up with similar kinds of solutions because it’s through the same lens.
“Something you can do to really instantly change your perspective is to ask yourself how would someone really different from me solve this problem?”
An example of a brand that has changed its perspective: Commonwealth Banks’ new Eftpos machines, called Albert, which is a simple interface for point-of-sale payments. Imber said that: “CommBank thought what would Apple do if they were creating a merchant terminal, how would they design it? And this is what they came up with.”
Never Make Big Decisions After Lunch
“With every single decision we make over the course of a day, whether big or small, it eats away at your cognitive resources,” Imber said. “The more decisions you make over the course of a day, the worse the quality of those decisions becomes.
“Decision fatigue leads to us taking the easy way out, the path of least resistance, because essentially our decision making muscle is fatigued. Innovation involves doing something differently and taking a risk, so if you’re making decisions later in the day you’re probably choosing the safest option.”
An example of a brand that is aware of decision fatigue: President Obama wears the same two suits and has the same breakfast. Obama told Vanity Fair back in 2012 “You’ll see I wear only grey or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”
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