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Innovation Articles


Thinking Outside The Box The How To

(category: Innovation, Word count: 523)
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When innovators talk about thinking outside the box, they mean coming up with creative ways to solve problems - new ways to look at things. How do they do it? How can you do it too? We first have to ask what the "box" is. Then we can look at how to get outside of it.

The "box" is the normal way of doing things and looking at things. It is the assumptions that almost everyone involved is making. The best way to start thinking out of the box then, is to identify and challenge all the assumptions that make up thinking inside the box.

One of the major liquor brands was faltering years ago, and they couldn't seem to boost their sales. Promotions, lowering the price, getting better shelf placement - these were the "in the box" solutions. Then someone challenged the assumptions, by asking "What if we stopped the promotions and just raised the price?"

The price was raised as an experiment, and sales soon doubled. As it turns out, some types of liquor are bought quite often as gifts. Buyers don't want to buy the most expensive one, but they also don't want to seem cheap, so they won't buy products that don't cost enough. Now imagine what happens to your profit margins when you raise the price and double the sales. That's the power of thinking outside of the box.

Ways To Get Outside The Box

Challenging assumptions is a powerful creative problem solving technique. The difficult part is to identify the assumptions. If you are designing a new motorcycle, write down assumptions like "speed matters," "it has to run on gas" and "it needs two wheels," not because you expect to prove these wrong, but because challenging these can lead to creative possibilities. Maybe the time has come for an electric three-wheeled motorcycle.

Another way to get to creative solutions is to "assume the absurd." This is either fun or annoying, depending on how open-minded you can be. All you do is start making absurd assumptions, then finding ways to make sense of them. The easiest way to do it is by asking "what if."

What if a carpet cleaning business was better off with half as many customers? It seems absurd, but work with it. Hmm...less stressful, perhaps. More profitable if each customer was worth three times as much. Is that possible? Commercial jobs that involve large easy-to-clean spaces (theaters, offices, convention halls) make more money in a day than houses, with fewer headaches. Focusing on getting those accounts could be the most profitable way to go - not so absurd.

Another way to more innovative ideas is to literally do your thinking out of the box. Get out of the house or the office. Look around at how others are doing things. On busses in Ecuador, salesmen put a product into everyones hands and let them hold it while they do a sales pitch. Then you have to give back "your" product or pay for it. It is very effective. How could you use the principle in your business?

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What Innovation Can Do To Your Life

(category: Innovation, Word count: 734)
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It's a talent that everyone has, yet they think they don't. The power of innovation. If you've ever marvelled at somebody's creative prowess, guess what, you can create and innovate too. It just takes time. Everyone is born creative. The box of crayons in kindergarten were not limited to those who possessed potential; because the truth is, everybody has potential.

You know how long it took to learn to ride a bike or drive or to never commit the same mistake again? It's the same with innovation. It takes a bit of practice and a lot of time before this mind function comes easily when called. This article will teach you a few tips on how to bring innovation into your life.

Don't listen to what other people say. Follow the beat of your own drum. Allowing for the input of other people will only bring cacophony to the music you are trying to make. If you have an original idea, don't waste your time and effort trying to make people understand. They won't. And the help you will probably get comes in the form of negative feedback. If all those geniuses listened to their peers, we would probably still be living in the middle ages.

Spend time on it. I cannot stress that enough, although, please do not mistake this tip to tell you to quit your day job entirely. Do not. This involves some tricky time management but with a little discipline you'll be able to squeeze both in.

Exercise. Take a walk. Run a mile or two. Send all those endorphins coursing through your veins. Exercising certainly clears and relaxes your mind and allows for anything to pop up.

Record your dreams. Aren't some of them just the craziest things that your conscious mind would never have thought of? If you've had these dreams before, and I'm sure have, this only shows you the untapped innovative power you have lying within. So jot down those notes. Those dreams may just create an innovative spark in you.

Find your own style. You can always tell a Van Gogh from a Matisse. You'll know Hemingway wrote something by the choice of words on the paper. So it is the same with you. People will appreciate your innovation more because it is uniquely yours and that no one else would have thought of what you were thinking. That will let people see how valuable an asset you are.

Don't hide behind nifty gadgets or tools. You don't need the most expensive set of paints to produce a masterpiece. The same way with writing. You don't need some expensive fountain pen and really smooth paper for a bestseller. In fact, J.K. Rowling wrote the first book of the Harry Potter Series on bits of tissue. So what if you've got an expensive SLR camera if you're a crappy photographer? Who cares if you've got a blinging laptop if you can't write at all? The artist actually reduces the number of tools he has as he gets better at his craft: he knows what works and what doesn't.

Nothing will work without passion. What wakes you up in the mornings? What keeps the flame burning? What is the one thing that you'll die if you don't do? Sometimes people with talent are overtaken by the people who want it more. Think the hare and the tortoise. Ellen Degeneres once said that if you're not doing something that you want to do, then you don't really want to do it. And that's true. Sometimes you just want something so bad you become a virtual unstoppable. And that is passion. Passion will keep you going.

Don't worry about inspiration. You can't force it; inspiration hits when you least expect it to, for those unpredictable yet inevitable moments you should prepare. An idea could strike you on the subway, yet alas, you poor unfortunate soul; you have no sheet of paper to scribble down a thought that could change the world. Avoid these disasters. Have a pen and paper within your arm's reach at all times.

I hope this article has helped you bring more innovation into your life. Keep in mind that you're doing these things for your own satisfaction and not anybody else's. But soon enough they will notice, and everything should snowball from there.

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Looking Back To Move Forward

(category: Innovation, Word count: 405)
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Another year is over. Take a moment to reflect on the past years.Start with an honest evaluation of your accomplishments, successes and failures.

Welcome the new year with a celebration of the past. Whatever challenges you faced last year, you are here to face another year. You are inspired and ready to tackle new endeavours, explore new horizons and reach for the stars.

Looking back helps to evaluate what worked and what didn't. Some issues seem to be replayed over and over. How many years has it been that you've promised to be more vigilant about your diet and exercise? What about the overuse of your credit card? How do you manage your time? What is it going to be this year? What are your priorities?

It's all a matter of perspective. Somewhere in the past, you stumbled and for a while, you were spinning your wheels. Take heart, that is past. There is a deep

well of strength and courage within you. And you moved on.

No one passes through this life without knowing pain and heartache. Add to this regret over lost opportunities, wrong choices and wrong decisions. These do not define your life. It is the lessons learned from these , and the determination to do better. Reap the nuggets of precious insights from the muddle and move on.

How well do you take care of your mental, physical and spiritual self? If you believe in taking care of your mental and spiritual well-being, your physical

health will definitely reap the benefits. Do you allow yourself time alone to enjoy peace and quiet? Have you learned to say NO. Do you take time to appreciate the beauty , the bounty and the blessings of the universe?

Stress is the scourge of living in the fast lane and getting caught up in the pursuit of material success. Consider seriously the level of your stress over the past years and how it affects your health. Think about this- your stress level impacts on your relationships, your career, your family and your whole life.

Some pursue elusive dreams. How long has it been? Ask yourself. Perhaps it's time to re-assess that dream. Times change. There are other avenues to pursue. Don't get stuck chasing after something that loses its value, its luster as time moves on. Don't let life pass you by.

Look back honestly, but kindly. And move on.

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Solve Problems With A Word List

(category: Innovation, Word count: 295)
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To creatively solve problems you need to get your mind looking in new directions. You can systematically do this by using a list of words, primarily adjectives, to create "what if?" scenarios. You start with the question, "what if it was..." and then insert a word from the list. The "it" in the question is the problem you're trying to solve, or the solution or situation that exists now.

Using "What If" To Solve Problems

An example will help explain the process. Assume your house is too crowded because you're running your business from it. You ask, "What if it was..." and insert from the word list, "smaller." The house is already too small, but could the business be smaller? The word "divided" might give you the idea to keep the business in just one part of the house.

Most words on the list won't help, so you can go through the irrelevant ones quickly. Don't automatically dismiss them, though, without a few seconds consideration. "What if it was hopeless?" may seem like a useless question, or it may make you realize that you just can't keep the business in the house any longer.

As with most problem-solving techniques, it's important to allow ideas to flow without judging them initially. Don't stifle the creative process. Evaluate your ideas later, when you're done with this part.

The Problem Solving Word List

You can create your own list of words. Use adjectives, descriptive phrases, and words that can change your perspective. These could include the following:

What if it was... larger, smaller, farther away, closer, sooner, later, easier, more difficult, higher, fat, rich, short, black, certain, hopeless, newer, boring, casual, subtracted from, cheaper, common, divided, more interesting, extravagant, subtle, or fun?

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Problem Solving Games For Groups

(category: Innovation, Word count: 449)
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Problem solving games are a natural when you want brain exercise and fun. Some of the best problem solving games can be played as a group. The added element of competition and "showing off" can stimulate some truly creative ideas. These games are especially good for long trips in a car, or for bored kids trapped inside by bad weather.

Best Ideas Game

This game uses a problem solving technique called "random presentation," and might even lead to some good money-making ideas. First, have someone look out the window or around the room and choose any object at random. Don't put any restrictions on this. It can be a rock on the side of the road, a stick laying in the yard, a truck, or anything at all.

Now everyone in the car or room can try to come up with the best way to make money with the chosen object. A street sign becomes a place to advertise, and trees are to be sold door-to-door. A truck can be used in a hundred ways to make money, but look for the best new way for the sake of the game maybe a traveling grocery store?

There is no winner or loser in this game. It is just an opportunity to let your imagination run wild, and to exercise your creativity. You may get a few laughs out of it too.

Concept Combination Game

Another good problem solving game for a group involves using a specific creative thinking technique, called "concept combination." You basically take two concepts or objects and combine them in some novel way. As a group game, the point is just to see who has the best idea.

What can you come up with from the combination of a chair and a microwave? Perhaps an easy-chair that has a cooler and microwave and television built in. Or microwaveable "couch potatoes" - a potato snack in the shape of a couch.

Change Of Perspective Game

You can also try the "change of perspective" technique for problem solving games. One way is to just take a topic ranging from morality to having a job, and see who can come up with the most unique (and perhaps coherent) new perspective? Could there be a world where there were no jobs? What would morality be to a virus if it had consciousness?

Once again, there are no losers in this game, or any of these types of games. It is just a chance to get creative and work that mind power. You could vote on the best idea if you want some sort of score keeping, but either way you'll enjoy these problem solving games.

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New Inventions I Would Like To See

(category: Innovation, Word count: 637)
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Do you want to create money-making new inventions? Not me. I just like to dream them up. Here are some of the new ideas I would love to see created in reality. I hope a reader or two will do something with them.

New Inventions For Outdoors

Free-standing tents without poles: The idea here is to have two inflatable sleeves that criss-cross over the top of a dome-style tent. Perhaps the rigidity would be insufficient for windy nights, but it's worth a try. Make them inflatable from inside, and you could quickly crawl inside and out of the rain to inflate it.

Rail-runner bicycle attachment: This is a new invention I want to try, but one that will not be popular with the railroad companies. Wouldn't it be great to be able to bike along train tracks? They go many places that roads don't go. The idea here is a device that holds the bicycle wheels on the track as you pedal along. Easy removal would be necessary, of course, for the occasional passing of a train.

Kites inflated with helium: If its been done, I haven't seen them yet. With some lift from the helium, these kites could be flown in any amount of wind. Designed right, they would still fly something like a kite, and with more maneuverability if designed like a stunt kite, with two strings. The first prototype might be a kite with a small helium balloon attached. If somebody makes this, I'll buy one.

Other New Inventions

Disposable t-shirts: Dollar stores have t-shirts on the shelves, so we know they're getting cheap. Why not invented a line of shirts that are low-quality, but good enough, and cost very little to manufacture? Sell them in boxes of 12, as "disposable clothing." Where's the market? Those who want less laundry to do on long trips, or those who want to have some cheap things to wear while doing dirty jobs.

Fast-food tube: These could be like the tubes at bank drive-throughs, but they would have to stay level for the sake of the drinks. Using these, one slow person won't hold up the whole line at the drive-through, because there can be several lines. The customers send money in through this conveyor system, and get food back the same way. Just pull up to whichever lane is empty. I'm waiting to see this invention.

Magnetic painting kits: This new novelty invention would consist of a flat "canvas" of magnetic material (steel?), and an assortment of many colors of iron dust or small shavings. Just apply the metal dust carefully to create any "painting" you can imagine. It would be something like a Buddhist sand mandala, but slightly more permanent. Spray the finished painting with a "fixer," and you could even hang it on the wall.

Invisible walls: This is a new invention that would be just plain fun. Make a wall with properly placed cameras, using the other side of the wall was the projection screen for these cameras, and the effect would be that of looking right into the other room - an invisible wall. I'm not sure about the practical applications, but an "invisible ceiling" would provide a nice view at night.

Magnetic signs for windows: Thousands of businesses use large magnetic signs for their vehicles, with their company name and logo on them. Of course these can only be used on metallic surfaces. To stick to car or building windows, they need a similar flat magnet or steel mesh material that is placed on the other side of the glass, to hold them in place. This may be one of those "unpatentable" ideas, but the first to trademark a catchy name and market them widely might do well with new inventions like these.

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Mind Power Through Mindfulness

(category: Innovation, Word count: 373)
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Basic mindfulness exercises put you in a state of awareness where distractions are let go, and your mind power is able to function more effectively. They help you think more clearly and concentrate better. They are also easy exercises to do.

More Mind Power in Minutes

A basic mindfulness exercise starts with sitting down, relaxing and breathing deeply through your nose. Close your eyes and be aware of your breath going in and out. After a minute, move your attention to your body, one part at a time, noting sensations of cold, hot, tight, sore and anything else you identify. In a few minutes, start listening to sounds in the room, without thinking about them. Just listen.

When it feels right, open your eyes and look around as if you are seeing for the first time. Rest your eyes on an object for half a minute, examining it without talking about it in your mind. Then move to another object, and another, while still maintaining an awareness of your body, your breathing, and any sounds. Stay in this state of mindfulness until you are ready to get up.

Being aware of your body, breath and immediate enviroment, puts you more fully "in the moment." Your mind is in a very receptive state, with fewer mental distractions that prevent clear thinking. Doing a mindfulness exercise before important mental tasks will give you greater mind power, specifically more focus and concentration.

An Even Easier Mindfulness Trick

Try this one today: When you feel stressed, stop, and carefully watch yourself to identify what's bothering you. Maybe you're expecting something bad to happen, or an argument is going on just below the surface of your consciousness, or you're worried about something, or in pain in some way. Make a note of everything you find.

Then deal with these mind-irritants. Make a phone call that's on your mind, take an aspirin, apologise to whomever you were fighting with. Write things on tomorrow's list, to get them off your mind. If there's nothing you can do right now, tell yourself that. Do this exercise, and you'll feel less stressed, and more able to concentrate on the tasks at hand. You'll have more mind power today.

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Inventions Innovation And Creativity

(category: Innovation, Word count: 610)
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Creativity is what sets you apart from your competitors. Competition may kill your business, but if you are creative enough you won't ever have to fear competition. Fortunes are often born in creative minds. A simple idea can turn into a never ending stream of cash. If you innovate, there are no limits or boundaries for you. The sky is the limit.

So, it can be said that one of the most important factors a company may have is the ability to come up with fresh ideas, new concepts, sophisticated marketing techniques. People like new things. Everyone wants to create something new. People struggle to be different in today's marketplace.

If you do a simple research you will find out that creativity is one of the things that make people become rich. Often, the more you create the more money you make. This requires effort and dedication. To see the opportunity where no one else see it.

I firmly believe that fortunes can be made. You simply have to define a problem and find a solution. Then capitalize on that solution. Problems are everywhere and the bigger the problem that you find the solution to, the bigger the chance you will make a lot of money from your idea.

You can create anything. It can be an invention, an e-book with information, art, a scientific breakthrough, etc. Just find a need and try to fill it. I guess you have heard that many times already, but it is true. The easiest way to make money is to help other people make money or help them solve their problems and receive some compensation from your efforts.

Isn't that what capitalism is all about? To allow people to become rich by enriching other people's lives? You don't need to chase money nor go after wealth. When you add value to the life of others you usually receive compensation for it. The best way to add value is to come up with a creative solution that no one thought about before.

This is not always easy. Sometimes the ideas will come fast and smoothly. Other times you will have to think hard about the solution. Keep in mind that the harder the problem and the better the solution, the more money you can make from it.

At the end making money may not be that hard for you. Once you get used to it you can do it often. The business of innovation has always being one of the most profitable businesses you can participate on. Creativity is something that come from the inside. It originates within your mind.

This is certainly one of the most important factors that an entrepreneur should take into consideration. It can make a huge difference in your businesses. Remember that there is no limit to what you can create. So, you can make a lot of money by just adding value to the life of others and finding solutions to complex problems that you can find everywhere.

The decision is yours. Most people work hard all their lives because they try to imitate what others do all the time. Work on those creative skills and improve them. You will be glad you did.

It doesn't take a genius to create something new. You don't have to be too smart. Sometimes the ideas originate from your intentions or they just come to you. Probably you already have thoughts about how to improve something or create something new that does not exist yet. You just have to polish that idea and give it a try. You may be amazed at the results.

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Innovation Can You Take Advantage Of It

(category: Innovation, Word count: 330)
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Innovation is simply the foundation of new beginnings. Through innovation we can find new products, learn new techniques, offer better quality and a more simplistic style and even help to bring the dollar out a little farther. But, what many business owners do not realize is that you can use innovation to help move your business to the next level, one that is better for the customer an better for you. Can you ask for more than that?

There are several ways in which you can use innovation to help transform your business. For example, it can be as simple as having access to the right information so that you know what the latest and greatest is. Or, you can even hire on individuals and companies to help provide you with the tools that you need to take your business to the next step.

Think it is too difficult to manage on your own? Consider hiring on change management teams to help you complete the process. Or, simply hire on a group of creative people to manage innovation on your own. You would be amazed at the quality that can be improved as well as the efficiency of even the simplest of tasks when you call on innovation in some form.

It is challenging to get started. Innovation research will be needed, brainstorming will have to be done and ideas will have to be brought to the forefront. But, there are enormous resources available to everyone in every type of business out there. Books, websites, organizations and many more avenues are available to you. The bottom line even looks better when you use innovation that is targeted and accurate. Even though you are spending time, resources, and money on finding the answers, learning how to make it better for you will help you increase your business's profit margin. Innovation changes every single day. Do you know what it can do for you, yet?

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