Three golden rules for effective innovation

The innovation process is, by nature, slightly chaotic. As the Spanish saying goes, “you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs“. Developing new opportunities goes hand in hand with a continued struggle where change would never happen if everything was planned.

However, in spite of the spontaneous nature of innovative thinking, there are some key rules that we can keep in mind in order to make our problem-solving efforts more productive:

“Focus, focus, focus”

Innovators can get distracted easily. Creative minds always have that temptation to jump from one challenge to another. It is important, however, to focus on what really matters. It is not like we should neglect all tangential aspects, but the more attention we pay to the central challenges we are facing, the higher productivity for our time.

“Imperfection is perfect”

Very often, the struggle to develop “perfect” solutions will lead us to imperfect scenarios. If we come up with new opportunities that may not be everything we expected but are still good enough to advance knowledge, we should plant that flag and, at least for the short term, accept it as what it is: a development. Surely, we will remain obsessed with improving that solution, but acknowledging progress is a pivotal step towards productive innovation.

“Shut up and listen!”

A study by Boston Consulting Group concluded in 2013 that strong innovators listen to customers in order to develop new solutions. BCG analyzed some of the world’s most innovative companies before publishing this research piece, so we should certainly pat attention to its findings. For instance, 73% of the most powerful innovators in the world argue that the views of key customers are central to their problem-solving efforts. By doing so, the productivity of our innovation strategies will also pick up.

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