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Innovation from Left Field

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Innovation Trick #47: The Article out of Left Field.

Let’s say you have a challenge, or an opportunity, that could use an innovative idea — but nothing’s coming. Your innovation well has run dry. What do you do?

Try this trick. Fire up your Google machine, open your tablet, or pick up an actual magazine and read an article. ANY article. The only stipulation is that this article should have NOTHING to do with your challenge/opportunity. It could even be an article in which you have absolutely no interest. In other words, it’s an article from out of left field.

Now — and this is the important part — as you’re reading this completely unrelated article, keep asking yourself this question: “How can I relate this to my situation?”

“How can I relate this to my situation?”

That’s a magic question. If you ask your brain this question, your brain will try to answer it. That’s what brains do! (Which is one reason why, in life, better results are so often the result of asking better questions.) And here’s the thing: You’ll come up with ideas you would never have come up with otherwise, because the unrelated article — in conjunction with this magic question — is forcing you to look at your challenge/opportunity from a new and different perspective!

You’re basically tricking your brain into coming up with innovative ideas!

So, will any of these ideas be the perfect solution? I dunno. Maybe yes, maybe no. (Although I will tell you that, the more you practice this, the easier it gets, and the better your results will become.) Either way, though, you’re now looking at your situation through a different lens

And sometimes — just sometimes — it’s through that different lens that the innovative solution comes into focus.

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About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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