You know the stories of the great innovators. Amazon, Apple, Google are the superstar innovation companies of the day. Their stocks, their sales, their margins, their profits, and their brands all reflect the benefits of innovation. But what happens if you DON’T innovate?
You wake up one day and you are closing 120 stores. You are Sears.
Sears used to be a great innovator. The mail order catalog. The money-back guarantee. The best tools on the planet. What have they innovated lately? They put blue shirts on their tires guys and called them The Blue Team. (For the record, that is NOT innovation.)
Sears stopped investing in innovation many years ago. Their competition didn’t. Today they are paying the price.
There’s an ad agency in Michigan that has adopted the tagline “Mutate or die!”. The owner (a friend of mine) reasons that the world is changing, his clients have to change too or they will be out of business.
The truth is, the world is changing because of the innovators. That is true today. It was true when the first cave man turned a rock into a wheel. It will always be true. Only innovating is innovating.
The answer to the question:
Innovate or become irrelevant.
Here’s a formula for creative thinking from Tom Monahan, former ad agency owner, Creative Director, heavy thinker, and consultant. Tom says that great ideas don’t come from creative people, they come from Creative Thinking. He outlines three steps to stimulate creative thinking and generate more ideas faster.
1. Ask a BETTER QUESTION….Don’t just ask the obvious questions, pose the “what if” and “why not” questions. What if this product didn’t exist? What if it were blue instead of green? Why not sell to women?
2. Work FAST….100 MPH
3. 180 degree thinking.