The Five Innovation Behaviours

"The Five Innovation Behaviours" is a tool I designed with an old colleague of mine (Mervi Pänkäläinen) to help foster creative behaviours and culture within a company. 

Innovation takes great mindsets and behaviours, more than these to be fair. By embracing these five crucial mindsets and behaviours, however, you will be on a good way to embedding creativity into the fabric of your organisation.

The wheel illustrates the fact that you need each and everyone for the "wheel to roll", i.e. fail in one and your results will be significantly worse.

Here is a short explanation of each behaviour:

Openness —being open-minded, open to new stimulus, new knowledge, new people, being curious and unbiased. The mindset and behaviour of openness is pivotal as it is essentially about what enters your mind for processing. The rule of thumb is, the more raw material in, the more processed and diverse ideas come out from the other end. Many companies fail here because they are too ingrained in their own "truths". As the world is changing at hyper-fast speeds, being open is a prerequisite for any creative endeavour. 

Provocation —new ideas are simply connections that happen in our brains, new associations of existing things. They happen when two or more existing ideas collide. To avoid thinking the same old thoughts, provoking our mind with new stimulus, constraints and problems help our brains look for new solutions. Provocation can be anything from forcing yourself to take a different approach, framing a problem in a different way, asking a new question, or anything else that fires up your brain in new and different ways.

Nurturing —just like newborn babies, ideas are fragile when they are born. That is, they often lack support, evidence, attention etc. New ideas must not be criticised, they must be nurtured - watered like plants in a greenhouse. Only then will we know which ideas are worth pursuing. So keep watering, keep supporting and growing those fragile idea babies.

Building —the best way to develop young, fragile ideas is to build them out as quickly as possible. Make them as real as possible, as quickly as possible. Prototyping is a great way to make this happen. A prototype is anything that helps you communicate and test your idea, a sketch, a picture, a 3-d model or anything else. Build to think, and think to build, as the saying goes.

Hurdling —truly original ideas will typically face opposition, otherwise they would not be original. Hurdling is the behaviour of navigating through the opposition, selling ideas to key stakeholders and sponsors, attracting fundind and support. Without this behaviour, nothing new ever happens. Ever. So get with it, innovation takes grit, sweat and some pain. But the reward will be worth it.

I dare you to try these for one week. My promise to you is they will create positive change. If you are liking what you are getting, keep going, keep practicing. Turning these into skills and behaviours will take some time, but it might be the best thing you have done to increase the creative capacity of your company.