What are the most important things you can do to speed and improve the creative process?

question to innovate

This the fourteenth of a series of weekly posts where I will answer a few common questions about innovation. Please feel free to add your own response. Also, if you have any questions you think we should discuss, let me know.

This is an interesting question. Here are a few thoughts on how you can speed and improve the creative process:

  • Provide a clear and understandable problem statement. This is key because most people can’t get their creative juices going with a blank page in front of them. So a statement like “How do we create a better car buying experience” will be too abstract for many. We have to get more specific and arrive at a single statement that captures the scope of the problem you are trying to address. Tip: use the 5 why’s.
  • Talk to customers/users. Talking to customers and users to identify their needs and test your ideas. Increasingly, users and customers are brought in at the beginning of the creative process
  • Murder-boarding. Kill a lot of good ideas, not just bad ones.
  • Prototype it. You have to make sure you are building the right thing before you get it right. There is no better way to do that than by prototyping something. Whether it’s a drawing, sketch, wireframe, storyboard, lego kit, etc, it will help to make that experience more visceral.

Were you expecting a bigger list? Not necessarily. What you need is tenacity to keep iterating on the insights you uncover.

The key ingredient for great innovation is not great ideas but great innovators. And what makes a great innovator is a rare combination of passion, skills, tenacity and fortitude needed to slog through the process of prototyping, testing, refining and rejecting ideas until they hit on a combination that works.

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