Subtraction is the simplest, most common path to innovation. Whether it’s products, services or writing, simplifying is one of the greatest abilities of innovators. Do only certain people hold a monopoly on this very valuable skill? It seems so. New research suggests that humans struggle with subtractive thinking.
The quest for innovation, transforming your business, overwhelms most organizations. Most organizations just don’t know where to start, or worse they believe they’re doing it right. While there’s no 3 step recipe that anyone can follow to innovate, there are principles that make it more certain that an organization is on the right path to innovation.
An organization’s culture is the driving force behind innovation. You can have the best minds on your team, but nothing will happen if the environment doesn’t let them bring out their full potential. It’s an environment that values and encourages creativity, risk taking, experimentation, learning. Innovation doesn’t happen without experimentation, which means making mistakes.
According to recent research by Stanford Graduate School of Business alumna Melanie S. Brucks and associate professor of marketing Szu-chi Huang, regular brainstorming sessions are not likely to lead to an increase in unique ideas. In fact, the average novelty of your output — that is, the degree to which your inspirations depart from convention — actually might decrease over time.
Anything worth doing in life will challenge you. Our minds and bodies want to take the path of least resistance. By pushing yourself, you will get the most out of life. Like people, organizations are the same; most organizations simply go through the motions of innovation. They mistake innovation work for efficient work, but innovation is messy. It’s the opposite of business as usual, it aims to change business as usual for the better.