Innovation: Jump in the Pool

Still Pool in the Storm
Last week I attended Connecting Innovation – an event designed to “look at the opportunities to work together, the ways creativity is cultivated and how productive partnerships can be formed”.

For me the event was worthwhile because of the interesting people I got to meet, and because I got to hear Charles Leadbeater speak.

When Charles was talking about innovation, he referred to the way most people learn to swim. While you may practice strokes on dry land, you only learn to swim when you get in the pool. Innovation can’t really happen until you “get in the pool”.

Charles’ point resonated with my experiences. I’ve learnt most of what I know by combining research (reading online and offline) with doing. I’m a firm believer in learning by doing. I recommend it.

If you’re tackling something new, try getting in the pool.

You don’t always need to wait for approval or a certificate to authorise you to do something new. Sometimes the best way to learn is by experimenting independently.

Invention – The Ideo Way

I’ve just been watching a program about Ideo (an amazing design company), after Dave Stone mentioned it on Twitter (thanks Dave!).

It’s incredibly interesting to see how Ideo tackle design challenges.

My favourite thing from the program is the way Ideo employees are allowed to change their work areas. One guy rigged up a rope to lift his bike into the air, reducing clutter. Nobody complained, so someone else did the same. Soon, everyone was storing their bikes in mid-air. The process of innovation was not started with consultation: somebody tried something and waited to see if anyone complained. Nobody did.

I like that. Sometimes, life’s too short to consult everybody on everything. So if you want to dangle your bike from the ceiling, just do it. And ask forgiveness if anyone complains.

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