opportunities for innovation
open up when you start the
creative problem-solving process
empathy toward your target audience.
Empathy means challenging your
preconceived ideas and setting aside
your sense of what you think is true
in order to learn what actually is
true that people aren’t conscious
We are not funs of focus groups. We don't much
care for traditional market
research either. We go to the
source. Not the "experts" inside
a company, but the actual people
who use the product or something
similar to what we're hoping to
create. It's precisely this
that makes innovation possible.
Uncovering what comes naturally
to people. And having the
Look wider. Don't focus
too much on your competition – spend as much time learn from
noncompetitive industries as well.
Knowing the state of the art or the soon-to-be state of the art in
one industry can give you a jump in your chosen field.
Cool technology alone is not
enough. If it were, we’d all be
riding Segways and playing with
Identify every barrier that
keeps people away from
your offerings, especially for
systematically tackle each one,
using a combination of
leave out the
emotional content, you may have
the best specifications in the world
but people may not buy your product
or service. Does the
Apple IPod have better specs, or
better data storage per dollar spent
than other MP3 players? I don’t
think so, but it
speaks to emotion.
Ultimately it comes down to
It’s about doing the things you
love, because it’s no secret that if
you do something you
love, you will
be better at it.
first step toward a great answer is
to reframe the question.
Everything in modern society is the
result of a collection of
decisions made by someone. Why
shouldn’t that someone be
core, creative confidence is about
believing in your ability to
create change in the
There’s no word in the Tibetan
language for “creativity” or “being
creative.” The closest translation
didn't know as children that we were
creative. We just knew that it was
okay for us to try experiments that
sometimes succeeded and sometimes
failed. That we could keep creating,
keep tinkering, and trust that
something interesting would result
if we just stuck with it.
discovery is full of
Noticing that something is broken is
an essential prerequisite for coming
up with a
creative solution to fix it.
action defines creative
confidence: the ability to come up
with new ideas and the courage to
try them out.
to think that to make something
happen in a corporation or in the
army, you had to be at the higher
ranks, to be a general. But you just
start a movement.
turns out that
isn’t some rare gift to be enjoyed
by the lucky few ‒ it’s a natural
part of human
thinking and behavior. In too
many of us it gets
blocked. But it
can be unblocked. And unblocking
that creative spark can have
far-reaching implications for
yourself, your organization, and
practice creates a database of
experience that you can draw upon to
act, most of us must first
overcome the fears that have
our creativity in the past.
matter how high you rise in your
career, no matter how much expertise
you gain, you still need to keep
your knowledge and your insights
refreshed. Otherwise, you may
develop a false confidence in what
you already “know” that might lead
you to the wrong decision.
groups are more
optimistic than realistic. They
believe they can do what no one else
has done before.
Newcomers that flourish in
our environment are often
offered a key role in a new
project, or even an opportunity
project. Age and experience aren't factors. You actually get to pick two
or three people who will review your work, and
invariably pick team members. And
since we live for projects,
there's an opportunity to spread
the work around.
brainstorming a religion.
The buzz of a good brainstormer can infect a
with optimism and
sense of opportunity
that can carry it through the
darkest and most pressure-tinged
stages of the project.
Play with your physical workplace in a way
that sends positive "body language" to employees and visitors.
allow serendipity to happen,
because I believe that all of the
magic is at the
now. You cannot win the game just by
having better engineers or better
marketers than the people down the
street. You can’t win. Someone is
always going to come along who is
better. The magic is at the
intersection between anthropology
and engineering and marketing or
whatever, where you cluster things
in a different way, and you say,
‘Hey, here is something people need
that they didn’t know they needed.
companies embrace a
Pranks became second nature.
When Hovey left for a week's
vacation, he returned to find a
sheetrock wall where his door
has been. Windshield cement
inspired many office pranks:
You'd leave your desk only to
return to find everything glued
down: soda cans, papers, pens.
David's door was once glued shut
when he was getting a pitch from
a salesperson. Another office
was webbed in by the sticky
trails from a hot glue gun.
There were rubber band wars and
squirt skirmishes (similar to
the pranks at
Apple at the
time), and plenty of water
balloons dropped out of the
The pranks and play served a purpose – gave
people a sense that they had some control over their destiny, a feeling of
belonging to something larger then themselves.
your space for
flexibility instead of inertia
and the status quo.
don’t put them in a drab, ordinary
hot teams, not dull
teams. A hot team is infused
with purpose, personality, and a
great passion about doing great
things or projects together.
Build bridges from one
department to another, from your
company to your prospective
customers, and ultimately from
the present to the future.
Break rules and "fail
forward" so that
change is part of the
and little setback is
Fail often to succeed sooner.
It’s not about
just coming up with the one genius
idea that solves the problem, but
trying and failing at a hundred
other solutions before arriving at
the best one.
the silver lining in every cloud.
Setbacks aren’t problems, they’re
key element of
the art of innovation is
treating life as an
experiment ‒ living with the
idea that you need to continuously
try things as opposed to just
sticking to the knitting.
prototyping is about acting
before you've got the answers,
about taking chances, stumbling
a little, but then making it
right. When you're creating
new to the world, you can't
look over your shoulder to see
what your competitors are doing;
you have to find another source
of inspiration. Once you start
drawing or making things, you
open up new possibilities of
discovery. Doodling, drawing,
modeling. Sketch ideas and make
things, and you're likely to
discoveries. At most fundamental
level, what we're talking about
is play, about exploring