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April 13, 2015

Do you Want to be More Innovative?

Heather Levin

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the_innovation_book_cover_80Stop and think about some of the incredible innovations we rely on today. Most of these products were invented decades ago and are now such a part of our society that we don't even think about the innovation behind them. But we'd find it hard to function without them.

For instance, consider electronic communication. Before the telegraph was invented in 1837, news could only travel as quickly as the fastest horse. The evolution of information-sharing from this one innovation set off a domino effect that now enables us to communicate instantaneously.

Or, take the personal computer, which was developed during the 1970s. This one device has transformed our capabilities as human beings, and changed the world for the better in a million different ways.

Innovations like these may seem like the works of creative genius. But the truth is that they were created by ordinary people who needed new ways to solve the complex problems of their day.

Today, creative thinking and new ideas are just as important as they've always been. But knowing how to be innovative, and how to solve problems in a creative way, can be a challenge. The good news is that innovative thinking is within reach for all of us, if we have the right tools.

"The Innovation Book," by Max McKeown, is packed with those tools. The book offers an insightful and practical look at how we can all be more innovative and creative.

One way to do this is to practice thinking more creatively. The audio clip below, from our review of "The Innovation Book," offers some tips on doing this.

Listen to the full Book Insight in the Mind Tools Club ¦ Install Flash Player.

 

Of course, you can have dozens of creative ideas on a daily basis. But if you don't take action on them, they're not going to do you any good. This is why you need to know how to add shape and structure to your ideas so that they see the light of day, and become useful solutions that you can use in the real world.

McKeown says that innovation is a learning process. And some of the best opportunities manifest after you begin the serious work of bringing your idea to life.

A big part of being an innovator is accepting that the process resembles the flow of a river, rather than a series of steps that are locked in stone. You have to be willing to move forward, adjust, fail, get back up, and try again.

One way to feel comfortable with this learning process, and become a better innovator, is to spend 10 minutes thinking about how to make what you do more useful to other people. McKeown says you can start with a new idea and try to make it useful. Or, you can start with a challenge or problem and find new ideas, or old ones, that will help solve it.

I really enjoyed reading "The Innovation Book" because it’s chock-full of useful advice. It's also intelligently organized, and includes a wide variety of tools that will really help readers learn to think more creatively. If you want to learn how to be more innovative then don’t miss Max McKeown’s "The Innovation Book."

How could learning to be more innovative help you in your current role? Join in the discussion below!

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