Innovation: the path from pain to value

Innovation: the path from pain to value

This process combines originality and relevance for solving problems

For starting our reflection, I´ll introduce some topics from “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, a best-selling book published in 2011 by Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences laureate Daniel Kahneman. That content is still up to date nowadays.

We sometimes listen that the creative people are those that have original ideas. But where do these ideas come from? Originality comes from divergent thought, this is, that thought responsible for the generation of new ideas and projects, which is commonly used in the brainstormings. It´s the creative thinking related to the right side of the brain.

Analytical people, in turn, are those more logical that use more the left side of the brain, the side responsible for convergent thinking, which objectives the relevance of ideas and the convergence for a better solution, one that joins efficiency and efficacy.

The creative process

Thus, in the creative process it is important to add up to originality and relevance. That’s why it’s important that the right and left sides operate together. In this interim, there are five phases of the creative process, namely: Problem Identification, Information Collection, Idea Generation, Verification, and Execution.

Problem Identification

The creative process usually starts from a problem that needs solution. It can be a stalemate, a crisis, an opportunity, a challenge, among others. Examples: how to make employees more motivated, what other niche markets we can act, etc. In this sense, an important ability to identify problems is called sensitivity to problems, understood as the ability to see defects in situations in which they are usually not perceived.

Information Collection

Having identified a problem, the next step is to collect information, which can be specific or general. Specific information is the one that relates directly to the object or subject that is sought. And the general one, apparently, has no relation to the subject in question.

Idea Generation

Specific knowledge provides the conceptual basis, which can develop a practice or theory. Generic knowledge, in turn, brings new elements, from which new combinations can be generated. And the more materials of diverse natures we have access to, the more likely we are to have creative ideas. From the information collected – or even during the collection – it is the generation of ideas.

The mind conducts experiments on collected data. The individual uses divergent thinking, seeks to question assumptions, make new connections, propose redefinitions. Their goal is to create alternatives, so that, among them, a quality idea emerges, original, and appropriate. At this stage it applies techniques such as brainstorming.

Verification

Then there is the verification phase, which is the period in which the validity of the idea is tested. Convergent, analytical thinking comes into play and the potential of the new idea is evaluated. It is questioned whether the idea is good, if it is feasible, whether it will bring feedback and whether it is the time for its implementation.

Execution

Finally, there is the execution phase. At this moment, the individual needs a lot of dedication and willpower to overcome obstacles, from the lack of resources to the resistance that often form around the new. From the awareness of the real possibilities of success, the person becomes sure about fighting for its accomplishment.

Good ideas X Innovation

Another critical aspect concerns the understanding that good ideas are not imposed by themselves, that is, they need to be sold. Turning good ideas into solid inventions requires that ideas be converted from schemes of possibilities into something that investors can see value for. Often, great ideas are no longer taken advantage of because their proponents are unable to draw up a sufficiently convincing picture of the potential for innovations contained in them.

It is important not only to use creativity in generating an idea, but also in its sale. And, as in any other sale, one must be open to negotiate parameters with the various parties involved. Special attention needs to be paid to the team that will execute it, clarifying its importance and its meaning. Yes, motivated employees increase the chances of success of a new venture.

Thus, from problems that need to be solved, divergent and convergent thoughts come into action. Both complement each other in the sum of originality and relevance.  Finally, I would like to leave Marxwell Maltz’s phrase as a reflection: “life is full of challenges that, if used creatively, become opportunities”.

By: Nôga Simões Corrêa da Silva Tonin, Innovation and Marketing Manager at CINQ Technologies