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From creativity to innovation: four steps to bringing ideas to market

Many business people believe that creativity doesn’t belong in the business world. But it is creative ideas which has disrupted many markets. You just have to look at AirBNB and Uber for recent examples or Henry Ford who changed the way automobiles were manufactured and viewed. But what is creativity and innovation?

According to the online Oxford dictionary, creativity is “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.” With this definition in mind, we could say it is looking at a problem and trying to find a new way to approach it.

The three parts to creativity are discovery, invention and creation. Many new products have gone through these processes. You may have attended a convention and discovered a new way to do process, then you have taken this process to your business and used it to improve your processes and then your employees have improved on the process to a point where they have created something new which could be sold as new process. By applying creativity to a customer’s pain point. You have moved creativity to innovation. Creativity is coming up with the ideas and innovation is the implementation of the ideas in a measurable way.

How can you use creativity and innovation to bring your ideas to market? Here are four steps to work through. It should be noted that these steps can be repeated often as you get more feedback on your idea and improve it for the market you serve.

STEP 1: Be curious and keep learning

With the world changing often, it is important to be curious. Ask questions. Attend networking events, trade shows and conferences. See what it happening in your industry. Ask your customers questions. Experience the environments you are in with all your senses. Every interaction and opportunity which comes your way gives you a chance to learn. If you see something and want to know more about it, search online about it. Be a constant scholar of life and your interests. You should also read about things outside of interest, you never know how they could be applied to your business.

STEP 2: Identify customer problems which have yet to be resolved

Listen to the pain points of your customer as these can be dormant opportunities for innovation. When you have identified a pain point, brainstorm ideas on how to solve them. During this session, no idea should be assessed but rather every idea should be accepted.

STEP 3: Reward innovation

If your employees come up with innovative solutions to problems in your business reward them. Show them that you appreciate the creativity they use to assess problems.

STEP 4: Incubate your idea

Sometimes we are so focused on our idea that we become stuck. When this happens it is important to remove yourself from your idea and go do something else. You could participate in a hobby or clean up your office. By adapting your focus for a bit, you may come up with a better idea.

By following these four steps you will improve innovation in your business. You can also get inspired by the world’s most innovative companies and see how they innovate new ideas.

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