Eight principles of innovation

New ideas and their application are the lifeblood of successful innovation. Yet paradoxically we see the same things written about innovation again and again: processes, flowcharts, rules, and guidelines. Landor constantly strives to find new ideas to innovate our own and our clients’ brands.

These eight principles should not be regarded as solutions, but rather as a fresh, creative approach to innovation.

1 Curiosity

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Fig 1.0 The Tie-Dee: Can’t find what you need? Here’s an essential accessory for every modern office worker.

Being curious comes naturally to our species. In the tradition of Leonardo da Vinci, people have long looked at the world around them and asked how it works. Innovation begins when we take what we see and apply it to the task at hand.

01-Speedo

How can the shark, with its bulky and not particularly hydrodynamic body, swim so fast? Asking that question helped Speedo develop a new kind of swimsuit, one that has given hundreds of athletes the winning edge.

2 Play

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Fig 2.0 Thai-Phoon: Scalding your lips is a thing of the past.

Play isn’t just for kids. Role-playing and other games can open our eyes to new possibilities and insights. Countless great innovations have come from the happy accidents and curious pairings that are made possible in a playful environment.

02-Lego-2

Lego now offers workshops called “Serious Play” to help participants unlock creative potential and solve design problems.

3 Intuition

Fig 3.0 Shower-Me-Not: Protect yourself from rain, puddles, and even germs. You can’t be too careful.
Fig 3.0 Shower-Me-Not: Protect yourself from rain, puddles, and even germs. You can’t be too careful.

There are plenty of things that we know and sense are right, but often we forget them. Gut feeling is a powerful tool. Follow your hunches and your instincts to cut through conventions–the results may feel right to other people too.

03-Heinz

For years we banged and shook bottles to get that last little bit of ketchup. Then, common sense prevailed.

4 Collaboration

Fig 4.0 Crawl 'n Clean: Relax while your little one brings a smile to your face and a shine to the floor.
Fig 4.0 Crawl ‘n Clean: Relax while your little one brings a smile to your face and a shine to the floor.

Medical professionals have long known the value of collaboration; a plethora of surgical tools and other instruments have been developed by those who use them. Think of your customers as experts–experts at being your customers–and call on them as a massive innovation team!

04-Symbian

Nokia, owner of the world’s most widespread mobile phone operating system, made it open source and completely free for anyone to develop an app. Everyone wins!

5 Diversity

Fig 5.0 Laser-Guided Precision Separating Device: Budding seamstress? Don’t cut without laser-guided accuracy.
Fig 5.0 Laser-Guided Precision Separating Device: Budding seamstress? Don’t cut without laser-guided accuracy.

If you ask the same people the same things every time … you get the picture. Imagine what you can learn from people who don’t use your products, from professionals in other fields, or those in different parts of your organisation. What looks like a problem from one viewpoint may appear as an opportunity from another.

05-Wii

Want to bust the market wide open? Talk to those who are not engaging with your product. Nintendo asked teenage girls why they didn’t play video games, and heard that the games available were too violent, too passive, or too antisocial. Sound like a brief for the Wii? It was!

6 Failure

Fig 6.0 The Aqua Bag: Make a fashion statement while avoiding the hassle of carrying a water bottle.
Fig 6.0 The Aqua Bag: Make a fashion statement while avoiding the hassle of carrying a water bottle.

Mistakes can cost money, but playing it safe every time can cost you your business. Innovative organisations create the space and license for trial and error. They know that learning from failure can lead to success.

06-Charles

The original self-service stockbroker, Charles Schwab, adhered to an innovation philosophy underpinned by a belief in “noble failure.” The firm celebrates well-intentioned failure, publicizes it, and tries again with the learnings.

7 Courage

Fig 7.0 The Sneasy-Roll: Your friends will appreciate your extra consideration when you have a cold.
Fig 7.0 The Sneasy-Roll: Your friends will appreciate your extra consideration when you have a cold.

As the song says, “They all laughed at Christopher Columbus.” Innovations challenge us, they take us out of our comfort zones and disrupt the status quo. You need passion and belief to make things happen and to take people with you.

08-Cochlear

Graeme Clark (a doctor inspired by his father’s deafness) refused to bow to all those who said an electronic implant in the inner ear would never work. Today more than 50,000 profoundly deaf people can hear because of Clark’s courage in pursuing his goal.

8 Momentum

Fig 8.0 The iDrop 2.0: Rid yourself of dry eyes and wet cheeks.
Fig 8.0 The iDrop 2.0: Rid yourself of dry eyes and wet cheeks.

A single idea isn’t enough to make your business innovative. Momentum comes from creating a culture of innovation where ideas are constantly being generated and systems support, rather than hinder, bringing them to market.

08-Postit

3M’s “bootlegging” policy encourages employees to spend 15 percent of their time experimenting with individual projects. The results speak for themselves: Scotch tape and Post-it notes owe their existence to this initiative.

 

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