In a world where everything is at your finger tips, it takes quite a bit of effort to stand out and stay competitive. But what if you are looking at the big picture all wrong? The best way to stand out is to provide either a solution that no one else can offer or just one that is more efficient.
Here are a few tricks on how to get into the right mind frame to start innovating now:
1. What type of problem is this? Most of the time, we get stuck on a problem because our focus is too narrow. When you think specifically, you limit your memory and stifle creativity. Instead, think more abstractly. Find the essence of the problem. Take vacuum cleaner filters, for example. Vacuums used to have bags that were constantly getting clogged, so innovators focused on how to make a better filter. James Dyson realized that the problem was actually about separation, or separating the dirt from the air, which doesn't always require a filter. “That freed him to try lots of different methods of separation,” says Markman. Hence: the Dual Cyclone vacuum that led Dyson to fame and fortune.
2. Who else has faced this type of problem? When you think about your problem abstractly, you realize that other people have solved the same type of problem in radically different ways. One of their solutions may hold the key to yours. For example, Dyson realized sawmills use an industrial cyclone to separate sawdust from air and modified that technology to create the first filter-free vacuum. “When you begin to realize that the problem you're trying to solve has been solved over and over again by people in other areas, you can look at the solutions they came up with to help you solve your own,” Markman says.
By breaking down the problem or task at hand and thinking from outside the box you should be able to come up with bigger and better solutions for your market. How do you try to solve your client's problems when it comes to a product or service of yours? Do you prefer surveys, customer support and feedback or something more along the lines of a forum to keep your client's happy?