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3 Tips to Inspire Innovation

How often do you invest in a technology, feature, product packaging, advertisement or whatever so that you can keep up with a competitor?

We all do it It’s human nature. But that doesn’t mean it’s a successful behavior.

As kids, we ask for things because our friends have them – and the following continues. That’s partly because our mindware (software) is programmed to follow others as part of our herd instinct. It’s also because we are pattern-creating beings. From the moment we’re born, our mind begins creating mindware programs to automate our responses to our world. Unfortunately, we create automated patterns that become outmoded over time, or are not applicable in different situations.

In business we clamor for that ‘me too’ thing. We get stuck in the status quo of competitive focus and a continual game of leapfrog, often dulling our ability to think and create out-of-the-box.

Fueling Ideal Innovation

Humans are designed for innovation. We’re the only animal that has the ability to foresee a future that is different than our present. We’re also the only creature that is capable of creating new programs and intersections within our mindware to drive new experiences and behavior. We can literally manipulate our world and what we see by shifting our mindware.

Here are 3 tips to inspire innovation in your teams:

1) Stimulate diversity.

Human minds learn from experience. By exposing our teams to a diversity of information and insights, we can increase our ability to think creatively. Instead of sitting inside your building in meetings discussing innovation – get out into your market and expose your teams to a broad array of new ideas and insights. Go outside of your industry to get even more new ideas.

2) Reduce stress and pressure in your environment.

When we feel stress or threats, we hunker into survival mind and our automated programs take control of our thinking and behaviors. To think creatively, we need to move into conscious thinking, using our prefrontal cortex. The more relaxed and safe we feel, the more our cortex engages. That’s why it’s critical that as leaders we create a safe, highly stimulating and low pressure environment to inspire innovation.

3) Create an innovation room.

Imagine a place where people can go to create freely. A place filled with whiteboards and markers, prototyping tools, great examples of innovation of our times and even play dough! In such a space, there is no wrong idea, no bad thinking. Everything is an opportunity to expand and think out of the box.  An innovation space can trigger the happy drug for our minds, dopamine. Once we are flush with dopamine – our creativity soars.

The Bottom Line

Thanks to the knowledge of neuroscience, we now understand the inner workings of our minds; how we slip into survival mode, how we process our sensory information, how we develop our own mental programs.

We now understand how humans create new programs within our mindware to automate our response to our world. We also understand how to short circuit these automated programs to inspire innovation and creating thinking.

21st century leaders  can innovate their way to business success by understanding how to motivate the human mind to think creatively, then applying this learning to their teams and themselves.  How cool is that?