Monday, August 22, 2016

The Mindset of Innovation: 5 Behaviors for Accelerating Breakthroughs

The Innovative Mindset:
5 Behaviors for Accelerating Breakthroughs 

One of the trainings I was part of in the past few weeks was led by the Brave New Workshop founder, John Sweeny, and his staff. John has written a book on innovation entitled The Innovative Mindset: 5 Behaviors for Accelerating Breakthroughs. The training was very unique because it was all based on activities involving improv, which is likely not the first thing that comes to mind for many people when hearing about an innovation training. It was a very innovative training on innovation.

Through a day of numerous fun activities and exercises, the staff helped us to think differently, realize the self-imposed constraints we put on our own ideas and those of others, and reflect on how this affects our work and innovation overall. In improv, nothing is planned and you need to invent and react in the moment. This is often true for innovating, too. Sweeny identifies five behaviors that accelerate breakthroughs in innovation:
  1. Listen: Often we spend so much time planning our own thoughts and ideas, we fail to listen to what is being said around us. In improve, you can't plan ahead and have to be in the moment actively listening.
  2. Defer Judgement: Being open to a variety of ideas instead of quickly dismissing ones that don't meet your own expectations or parameters can lead to more creative and innovative solutions.
  3. Reframe: Looking at something differently can be eye opening and lead to solutions to problems. In one of my favorite activities, the staff had us hand off an imaginary box to one another and state what was inside as we did. Each time we received the box, we began with a "Thank you for... " and stated how we would use it. At one point, we were instructed to give something negative and upon receiving it, reframe it into a positive. How quickly this can change your mindset about working with a problem!
  4. Jump In: Sometimes the fear of getting involved without knowing what will happen or having things planned out ahead of time prevents innovation from occurring.
  5. Declare: State you ideas, thoughts, opinion, and/or point of view. Keeping it to yourself may lead to confusion or prevent an important connection or innovation from even happening.
You can learn more about the book and innovation training on Sweeny's website, which also has some videos segements of the presentation.

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