Author Topic: Be An Innovative Thinker  (Read 20808 times)

Offline Mark Austin

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Be An Innovative Thinker
« on: September 02, 2008, 02:38:45 PM »
Be An Innovative Thinker

It is common for people to misunderstand innovative thinking. Inventors are often misunderstood, too. Innovative thinking is often looked at as being a waste of time, but nothing could be further from the truth.

It is common for an inventor to be looked at as being crazy or a bit ‘off their rocker’, especially if they have not invented anything that has hit the mainstream. Most of the world’s famous inventors were once thought to be insane. That is until their inventions changed the world.

Inventors are a special group of people. They do not care what others think. They are all about their ideas and making something amazing that will help people or change the way of life. Without inventors we would be in a lot of trouble. It is inventions that have brought us things we use everyday, from toilet paper to computers. Inventions are important to our everyday existence.

What is Innovative Thinking?

Innovative thinking is thinking that goes beyond what you can see. It is imaginative. It is the ability to look beyond the obvious. It is creative and it is different. An innovative thinker can look at something ordinary and see the extraordinary.

Innovation is about invention. It is about being able to come up with something that nobody has come up with before. Being an innovative thinker means you have a mind that does not quite work like the logical, down-to-earth mind that the majority of people have.

Innovative thinking is a gift. Being able to go beyond the obvious is not something everyone can do. Some people are naturally born with this gift, while others have to work to train their brain to be able to think outside the box.

Innovative thinking is something that can help you out in many aspects of your life. You can use innovative thinking to create a new outfit, come up with a good business idea or create dinner.

Misunderstanding of Innovative Thinking

As mentioned, inventors and those who use innovative thinking are often looked at as strange. Most people do not see innovative thinking as being productive. However, it takes plenty of crazy ideas to produce one amazing idea.

Many people picture an inventor as someone who is scatter brained and not organized. They think of the quite, mismatched, clumsy inventor that is the stereotype for inventors. This is not entirely true and it does not have to be the image of innovative thinking.

Many times serious inventors are a bit scatter brained, but that is just because they are so focused on their work that they forget about everything else. It is not because they are crazy or insane. This is a huge misconception and it can be quite damaging because people do not want to become like this stereotype.

In general, people simply do not understand innovative thinking. One of the reasons for that is that people do not truly understand what innovative thinking is and how it can be productive.

Most people do not understand that innovative thinking is a skill. They do not see it as being a positive thing. Innovative thinking is actually a highly sought after skill in the business world. Being able to come up with new and useful ideas is something every industry can use.

Innovative thinking is often defined wrong. People think that innovative thinking has to be radical and way out there. That is not true. Innovative thinking can be simple or complex. It can be subtle, too. Innovation does not have to be a major change. Most people only recognize the radical innovative thinking, but it is important to recognize that not all innovative thinking is radical.

Another common misconception about innovative thinking is that it only involves new ideas. Actually, innovation is deeply rooted in using current ideas to bring about change. Many of the best inventions were taken from another idea.

Many inventors simply take an existing product and make it better through innovation. Innovation can also be taking ideas from other places and being able to put them together to create something new.

Innovative thinking is not just a quality of a brilliant genius. Many times people think there is no way they could be an innovative thinker because they are not ‘smart’ enough. Innovative thinking is not just a quality of those with high IQ’s. The reason this misunderstanding exists is likely due to the fact that many of the great inventors were geniuses.

However, the genius mind simply makes them more open to new ideas and innovative thoughts. Anyone can be an innovative thinker. For some people, though, it just takes more work to learn the skill. You do not have to be a genius or have some fancy degree to invent the next best thing.

Innovative thinking is not a highly structured process. There are no rules to it. In fact, most innovation comes from clutter and disorganization. It is from the depths of many ideas and failed attempts that some of the greatest inventions of all time have been born.

You do not have to be highly organized to be innovative. It can help if you dislike chaos, but it is actually much easier to be innovative in the mist of chaos.

Maybe the idea of people yelling out ideas at random does not appeal to you. That is one of the best innovative ways to brainstorm, though. You do not want to limit your brain to certain hours it can be creative. Good ideas may come at the most horrible times. You have to be ready for them. You just can not expect the innovative process to be organized.

Listening to others may be of some assistance to innovative thinking, but in general, innovative thinking is the result of an individual. The famous inventors often worked alone and for good reason. Getting others involved can stall the innovative thinking process. Having too many distractions or having ideas thrown at you can interrupt your brains ability to think creatively.

Even though innovative thinking is often free flowing, it does not mean it has to be unrestricted. It is possible to get people together and have some structured innovative thinking sessions.

This is especially true in business. While you can not dictate when genius will hit, you can work in an environment that is very welcoming of innovation. It is possible to come up with amazing innovative ideas within the context of a business structure.

Many people believe the myth that innovation is expensive and has to involve technology. It is possible, even in today’s high tech world, to have innovative ideas that do not require technology. Some of the best inventions involve no technology. They are simple and they work. You do not have to have a team of scientists and engineers at your disposal to bring innovative ideas to life.

Innovation is not perfect. Failure is a large part of innovation. Some people wrongly believe that there is no place for failure in innovation. That could not be further from the truth. Innovation is largely rooted in failure.

In fact, it is often failures that have led to some of the best ideas. Failure is actual a major part of innovation and something that can be learned from. Without failure there is no innovation.

Innovation is not an immediate gratification process. People who are looking for immediate rewards to their innovative thinking will be sadly disappointed. Many times people think that if they start working with innovative thinking that others will see them as being very smart and as being a go to person.

Unfortunately this just is not true. As mentioned, many times innovative thinkers have to earn their praise because people often look at them first as being a bit crazy.

Misunderstanding innovation can make it seem scary. The more you understand innovative thinking, the more likely you are to grasp the concept and be more likely to give it a try.

Skills that can Assist in Innovative Thinking

Innovative thinking is sometimes a God given gift. For most people, though, innovative thinking is something they have to learn. For the majority of people, learning how to be an innovative thinker can be a struggle. To make the process easier it can help for a person to recognize skills that can be helpful in innovative thinking.

Here is a list of skills you should work with to help you develop innovative thinking:

1.   Being able to look at something in a different way. If you can look at a pencil, for example, and see it as something more than something to write with, then you are on your way to innovative thinking. Take that idea and run with it. While you may never come up with a great invention from it, you can use this brainstorming exercise to help develop your innovative thinking skills.

2.   Being able to look at what others have done and see a need for improvement. If you can recognize things that are not quite perfect or that have the potential to be better, then you can be an innovative thinker.
3.   Being able to weed through piles of information to get to the good stuff. If you can easily take a bunch of nonsense and make some sense out of it, then you can be an innovative thinker. You should recognize that innovative thinking involves a lot of nonsense and being able to get to the heart of things is a true innovative skill.

4.   Being committed. Innovation requires a lot of commitment. If you are the type of person who can commit to something and who does not give up, then you are a prime candidate to be an innovative thinker.

You probably already have many skills of an innovative thinker. All you need to do is recognize that you have it in you. You can be an innovative thinker and use that ability to come up with many inventions and ideas.

How Innovative Thinking Works

Deriving new inventions and ideas form innovative thinking is a process. While thinking, in general, is usually not very well structured, there is a general structure that can help when working with innovative thinking. You have to have some path to follow so you can take something from an idea to an invention.

Innovative thinking starts with defining the situation. You have to look at what you are working with and define what is needed or what your desired outcome is to be. You basically have to know where you are going. Define what you want the final outcome to be.

Now you can gather information. Innovative thinking is not about just being able to come up with things out of thin air. You need to have background information. Find out what others may have already tried. By gathering information, you are able to avoid repeating others mistakes or you may possibly find an idea that you can work with to improve upon.

Next comes the actual innovative process. You are going to be brainstorming. You will be creative and inventive. Anything goes in this step of the process. There is really no room for logic. Sometimes innovation is born from an idea that seems unrealistic. A good example is cell phones. At one point people would have thought it was crazy to be able to walk around and talk on the phone no matter where you are. Today cell phones are a life staple.

After coming up with ideas you can then begin to go through them. Weed out those that are not going to work for one reason or another. Make a list of the most promising ideas. You are going to move on to work with these and develop them more.

Now you evaluate your list. You will try to develop these raw ideas further. At this point, you will likely see some emerge as being the most likely to work. You will also be able to get rid of a few more ideas.

You should now be able to define your final solution. You can begin to work on implementing the idea and making it a reality.

The process of innovative thinking is actually rather structured. You have some points where you can be unstructured and let your creativity take over, but overall you have to maintain some sense of structure so that your great ideas do not get lost or overlooked.

How to Use Innovative Thinking

It is one thing to decide that you would like to use innovative. It is completely different to actually start using it. It can be hard to decide how exactly to use innovative thinking to better yourself and the world around you.

It is most likely that you already have a job and are not looking to quit to become an inventor who wastes away your days trying to come up with the greatest idea of all times. That is not what innovative thinking is all about anyway.

You can use innovative thinking in your current situation. All you have to do is start working with your creative thoughts. Many times we simply push them away because our rational mind says they are not good enough or people would think we were crazy if we shared them.

Part of being an innovative thinker is not caring what others think. You have to be willing to put yourself out there and take criticism. You have to accept rejection will happen. Learn to take failure as a good thing. Learn from it and embrace it.

Here are some things you can do to help yourself become an innovative thinker:

•   Ask questions. Question everything. Be like a two year old child and ask why. You may even know the answer already, but ask anyway. Questions lead to ideas.

•   Compare things. Compare one thing to another and try to see what makes one better or more useful. Try to seek out things that are similar, yet different and figure out the best qualities of each and how you could put them together to make a unique product that has the best quality of each product.

•   Think about what you want that you do not have now. Imagine the future and think about where technology is going. Try to come up with ideas about things that would make life easier or better. Even if these ideas are not plausible right now, just let yourself imagine what if.

Things to Avoid when Trying to be an Innovative Thinker

Many things can get in your way when you are trying to be an innovative thinker. It is up to you to make sure nothing stands in the way of you and your great ideas. The following list is some things not to do when it comes to innovative thinking.

•   Do not let your rational mind hold you back.
•   Do not let others hold you back.
•   Do not listen to the negative.
•   Do not fear the unknown.
•   Do not be afraid of a great idea.
•   Do not censor yourself.
•   Do not ignore ideas.

As you can see many times you are the main road block to innovative thinking. It can be your own thoughts and feelings that do not allow your innovative ideas to flow. You have to be responsible for making sure that you allow your mind to be creative and to think outside the box.

Things to do to Help you Be an Innovative Thinker

Just as there are things not to do, there are some things you should do to help you on your path to innovative thinking. The following list explains some of these things to do.

•   Do allow yourself to get silly.
•   Do let your mind wander.
•   Do question everything.
•   Do try new things.
•   Do let your inner child take over.

These things you can do are actually quite simple. Really al they involve is stopping your natural instincts to be grown up and act in a mature manner all the time. Sometimes, though, it is fine to let the immature side of yourself come out, especially when it comes to innovative thinking.

Some Exercises in Innovative Thinking

Becoming an innovative thinker is actually a fun process. You are going to be able to let yourself let go and think freely and creatively. You will be able to ignore all the rules of logic and just think whatever and however you want.

Deriving ideas and inventions from innovative thinking involves first getting your brain on board with the task. In order to do that you will need to do some exercises in innovative thinking.

These exercises can help you to get your mind thinking in an innovative way rather then as do on a regular daily basis.

Exercise 1: Day dreaming. We have all, at some point in our life, day dreamed. It should not be too hard for you to come up with a day dream. Everyone wishes they could fulfill their goals and live their dreams, so go ahead and do it. Just take some time to relax and day dream about a life you wish you had or day dream about somewhere you would like to go.

If you really want to be creative record your day dreaming and talk about what you are seeing. This will allow you to go back and remember the day dreaming exercise. You may even be able to get some ideas form it later on.

Day dreaming just allows your mind to forget the reasonable and forget the average day to day life. It allows you to imagine and think about the possibilities.

Exercise 2: Free write. Free writing is where you just sit down with a blank sheet of paper and write whatever comes into your mind. You do not worry about grammar or anything. You just put the words on the page as they enter your mind.

When you first try free writing you will likely see that your logical thinking is hard to turn off. You may write about nothing creative at all. That is fine. As you get into the exercise you will be able to come up with more creative things. It is not about creating a story or making any sense. It is about learning how your mind works.

When you are finished with your free writing exercise, read over what you wrote. Look for anything that you could expand upon. If you have some good ideas, then take them out and consider free writing on that particular topic.

Exercise 3: Play with clay. This is similar to free writing. Instead, though, you are going to be shaping and molding a piece of clay. Just let yourself get lost in the clay. Look at its color, feel its texture, smell its smell. Let yourself mold it and shape it however you are led to do.

This is a great way to distress. Playing with clay is relaxing and it is something you can do easily. It does not require any thinking at all, actually. It allows your mind to turn off and rest, which is great when you are trying to work it hard to be innovative.

Exercise 4: Spend a day with children. Children are the best innovative thinkers. As we grown up we tend to lose that wonder and amazement for life that drives innovative thinking. Spending a day with children can help you get back to that mind set and allow yourself to open your mind to innovative thoughts.

Children will give you so many ideas and they will bring out the child in you. Spending time with them will allow you to remember what you were like at that age. You will be quicker to be able to remember how you looked at the world and how full of wonder you were.

Exercise 5: Do something new. You can try something you have never done before or try something that scares you to death. Trying something new opens you to new experiences where you can learn a lot about yourself and the world around you.

Doing something new can even involve just learning about a different part of the world or it could be as dramatic as jumping out of a plane. Do whatever your mind leads you to.

Doing something new will stimulate your brain in many ways. You will be full of excitement and you will be learning at the same time. You will stimulate your brain to release triggers that can help spark creativity.

Exercise 6: Learn a musical instrument. Playing music allows your brain to use the part of it that is responsible for creativity. This will open up the ability for your mind to go ore easily into the mode needed for innovative thinking.

You can learn an instrument or even try out singing. Just do something that will stimulate the creative sections of your brain and help get them warmed up so you can begin thinking creatively.

These exercises can do a lot to help you learn how to be an innovative thinking. You can try them all or only a few. It is up to you. Let yourself try out fun things, like these exercises. Make time to do things like this. You have to do things like these exercises in order to allow yourself to learn to be a creative and innovative thinker.

Innovative Thinking and Passion

One thing that has not been mentioned yet is about the role passion plays in innovative thinking. It is true thought. You have to have passion about your innovative ideas or you will never get anywhere with them.

You have to feel strongly that your ideas are worthy. You have to believe in yourself and know that your ideas are good. IF you do not stand behind your ideas, then it will be quite hard to get others on board with them.

Being passionate about innovative ideas is not something that you can learn. It is something that comes from the heart. It is something that is uncontrollable.

You have to be able to tell others about your innovative idea and get them excited. It is impossible to do that if you do not have any passion about your product.

It is hard to develop passion.

However, if you immediately feel very strongly about an idea you come up with, then chances are it is something worth going with. When you have that immediate passion about something then it is natural and it really is something you believe in.

It is your job to make sure people know about your passion for your idea. It is hard to argue with someone or put down their idea if they seem so passionate about it. Let people know that you really do care about your idea and that you will not be quick to let them push it aside.

Persistence and passion go together when it comes to inventions and ideas. People are quick to ignore or put off things that are new. People will likely not be nearly as interested in your idea as you are, so you have to be ready for that.

You have to keep pushing your idea in front of people. It is the passion that will drive you to do this. So never let go of the passion. Never allow yourself to lose your fight and drive. Always stand behind your idea. Always know what to say – be prepared.

When people come at you with negative remarks or even questions, then you have to be available to answer back. You need to know the ins and outs of your idea and you have to be able to explain every detail so you can talk to others about it.

Do not forget about passion when it comes to innovative thinking. If you forget the passion then you will likely end up never getting your idea recognized for the brilliance they are.

An Innovative Thinking Story

Here is a story about Sue. Sue is an innovative thinker. She has not always been, though. Sue found her innovative genius one day and has never let it go because of what it has done for her in her life.

Sue is an average woman. She has no extraordinary talents. She is not a genius. In fact, Sue never even went to college. What makes Sue different is that Sue is a great innovative thinker.

The company Sue works is for a big name company that usually only hires in the best of the best. Her co-workers all have degrees from top universities. They were valedictorians and honor students. Sue does not feel out of place, though, because she knows she often produces work that they could only dream of producing. That is all because of her innovative thinking.

Sue was not born an innovative thinker. She had to work at it. It took her many years to perfect the art of innovative thinking. She had to do many exercises and had many failures.

Sue would spend a lot of her free time free writing and brainstorming. She also started to look at the world around her. She started to question everything. She started to look at everyday things and wonder how she could make them better.

One day she had a break through and came up with an idea that changed her life forever. Sue invented a product that became very popular. She was recognized on national television and she started getting phone calls form various companies who wanted her on their team.

Sue ended up at her current job and she has never been happier. Her innovative thinking has led her to a life she could only dream of before.

Innovative thinking is amazing. It can work wonders in your life. All it takes is just getting started. You can make it work for you. You can build upon your innovative ideas and create something wonderful. You can use innovative thinking to make you stand out from the crowd.

Be like Sue and make your own future. Go out there and create, imagine and invent. Use innovative thinking to guide you to the future you have only dreamed about.

Summing It Up

You now know all about innovative thinking. By now you have probably changed how you see innovation. You now know how powerful it is and how it can work in your life.

You know the definition of innovative thinking. You also know about the common misunderstandings and how they can turn people off on innovative thinking. This knowledge can really help push you towards wanting to be an innovative thinker because you can see just how much it can do for you.

You have learned the exercises and the techniques that will help you to become an innovative thinker.

You know innovative thinking is not just for inventors or geniuses. You know everything you could possible want to know about innovative thinking.

To sum it up you have to understand that innovative thinking is:

1.   Powerful.
2.   Passionate.
3.   Creative.
4.   Amazing.
5.   A skill.

Innovative thinking is so powerful that it can change the way people look at you. It can change the world around you and it can change you. You can use innovative thinking in every aspect of your life.

Innovative thinking is about passion. You have to dig deep to be able to stand behind your new and unfamiliar ideas. You need that passion to make others see just how great your idea is and the possibilities that it holds.

Innovative thinking is all about creativity. It is constructive, but at the same time it is free and it flows. You are not restricted, except by your own mind. You can do anything when you are an innovative thinker because you learn not to hold yourself back and to explore the world and let your experience new things.

Innovative thinking is amazing. Innovative thinking is responsible for many of the greatest inventions in the world. Innovative thinking is responsible for making our lives as they are today. The modern conveniences that we could not imagine living without are al part of innovative thinking.

Above all, innovative thinking is a skill. You do not have to be born with it. You can learn to be an innovative thinker. You just have to put your mind to it and work at it. You have the ability to train your brain to be innovative.

Everything you have read about innovative thinking sums it up nicely. You know about every aspect of innovative thinking. You know how it works, how to develop the skill yourself and how to use it.

You should keep the do’s and don’ts in mind so you can help yourself in any way possible. It may be easy to say do this and don not do that, but it is a fact that there are some things you have to do in order to allow yourself to be an innovative thinker.

You hold the key to becoming an innovative thinker. You hold the key to allowing your mind to be something great.

You can begin to put innovative thinking to work in your life if you only put your mind to it. If you struggle with letting your mind be innovative, then remember the story of Sue. Remember how she managed to push her rational thoughts aside and let innovative thinking lead her to success.

You can change the way you think and that can change your life. Put innovative thinking to the test. Let your mind wander and let it do something great.

You do not have to become a famous inventor. You do not have to become scatter brained and focus so much on your ideas that you do nothing else in life. Innovative thinking can co-exist with your regular life. So do not be afraid just get to it!

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that,
but the really great makes you feel that you, too, can become great.”
~ Mark Twain

Offline Jim Burney

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Re: Be An Innovative Thinker
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2008, 04:13:54 AM »

What another great post in this university, that is called, the RRW Forum.

My thoughts are so cluttered at times I should be a genius. Alas, I am not.

So I shall do the next best thing and follow the steps you have shared in this post and become an innovative thinker.

Why would anybody not want to be?

There you are I am keeping an open mind!!

Your post also reminds me of one of my favorite sayings:

" It is ok to be childlike "

There is a difference between childlike and childish.





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Re: Be An Innovative Thinker
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2008, 11:10:24 AM »
Hmmmmmm....I will have to think about that :)

Not enuff hours in the day - but for the time I do have I will endeavor to fill it with this sort of quality content.

Thanks for yet another great reason I suscribed.