Friday, August 15, 2008

Zero Gravity Thinkers

Are you stuck in a rut? Do you find yourself doing the same things over and over again, or are you struggling to find a new solution that seems to evade you?

We often think that innovation comes from those creative types that sit around throwing pencils at the ceiling most of the time, but every once in a while some moment of brilliance happens. Well, that scenario is probably true, but anyone can be part of the innovation process.

Where can you begin? By asking questions. Usually, just starting to ask questions can be a good start,but these kind of questions can get you down the right path.

In the article from a previous post, the author writes about this point:

In her 2006 book, “Innovation Killer: How What We Know Limits What We Can Imagine — and What Smart Companies Are Doing About It,” Cynthia Barton Rabe proposes bringing in outsiders whom she calls zero-gravity thinkers to keep creativity and innovation on track.
“I would ask my very, very basic questions,” she said, noting that it frustrated some of the people who didn’t know her. Once they got past that point, however, “it always turned out that we could come up with some terrific ideas,” she said.

While Ms. Rabe usually worked inside the companies she discussed in her book, she said outside consultants could also serve the zero-gravity role, but only if their expertise was not identical to that of the group already working on the project.
“Look for people with renaissance-thinker tendencies, who’ve done work in a related area but not in your specific field,” she says. “Make it possible for someone who doesn’t report directly to that area to come in and say the emperor has no clothes.”
Sometimes, we are our own problem. Past success usually means future stalemate, because the future is dynamic yet it is hard for us to let go of something that has worked for us previously.

Ask basic, simple questions that you think are probably petty and beneath you, and then start writing down answers or more questions. Ask other people, especially people outside of your organization. You might be amazed at the new paths that open up in front of you.

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