Igniting Innovation: Tips, Sparks and Ideas for Acting on Innovation

3 Overlooked Sources for Game Changing Ideas

Posted by Corie Roudebush Spialek on Mar 29, 2016 10:00:00 AM

It is time to innovate, it is time to make changes to your current offerings, but you are just flat tired and out of ideas. If your company is like over 90% of all organizations out there when it is time to to talk new products & services you call R&D, marketing, and at some companies you call on the internal innovation group.  Every one sits around the table and you start throwing out ideas, but nothing ever feels truly new or different.

Let me challenge you to try something new. When it comes to creating new ideas diversity is key.  When I say diversity I mean diversity of thinking and experience. Instead of calling a meeting of the regular suspects take a walk through the building and the factory searching out new and different perspectives.  

First, stop in and ask customer service if they have time to chat.  Ask innovation and customer servicemultiple people in the department what is the number one thing people call to complain about, ask again, and again.  Each person will have a different perspective.  Talk to a minimum of three people. If you don't have a customer service department then the people who answer the phones are your go to people.

Then head over to the sales department.  Take them lunch and ask them to tell you what their greatest challenge to selling your products or services might be --- what are their current and potential clients wishing you offered or what might of prevented them from making the sale in the past.  Again talk to a minimum of three people.

Last, but in some cases most important take a day and go visit your factory innovationmanufacturing facility.  Wear your walking shoes, exchange your business clothes for jeans or casual clothes (this is more important then you realize), and start talking to people, ask them what they feel are your products greatest strengths and weaknesses. By standing with someone at their machine, where they do their work every day you will show them that their opinion matters.  Remember these are the people that literally interact with your product every day.  They are arguably the people closest to the work. 

Take what you learned back to your desk or next innovation session and use it as stimulus to spark new ideas. And if you are truly brave invite someone from each of those departments to your next innovation session their input could be game changing.

Topics: Create, innovation, stimulus mining

Corie Roudebush Spialek

Written by Corie Roudebush Spialek

Corie is the Director of Operations at Eureka! Ranch. She has a superlative attention to detail, yet sees the big picture. She is vigilant at doing the right things – even if they are not the easy thing to do. She’s efficient, persistent, dedicated, and unflinchingly committed to the Ranch and her clients. During her over 14 years with the Ranch she has helped push teams from a diverse group of companies like Jim Beam, Tyson Foods, Walmart, General Mills, Infantino, Public Radio International, National Wildlife Federation, and The Student Conservation Association to new places in their approach to innovation. Corie is a DePauw University graduate who gets the job done with grace and good humor. She and her husband Ed live in Cincinnati, Ohio with their son and twin girls. She is a DePauw University graduate who spends her free time at the pool or on the lake with her husband and three kids.

Welcome to the first blog from the Eureka! Ranch and Innovation Engineering Institute team.  Here you will find a diverse group of innovators dedicated to changing the world by transforming innovation from a random gamble to a reliable system that delivers increased innovation speed and decreased risk.


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