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‘Innovation’ is one of the buzzwords in business in recent times. The reason for it is the accelerated pace of new innovations and the pressure not to fall behind as these innovations take the markets over.

Ray Kurzweil stated that since the beginning of evolution, more complex life forms have been evolving exponentially faster, with shorter and shorter intervals between the emergence of radically new life forms. In other words, accelerated change is a natural phenomenon. By extension, the rate of technical progress amongst humans has also been exponentially increasing, as we discover more effective ways to do things, we also discover more effective ways to learn.  In simple business terms, Successful innovation allows you to add value to your business so that you can increase your profits—if you don’t innovate well, your business will plateau.

For many, the idea to be innovative is a scary one. Their first thought might be ‘I’m not the creative type’. Rather than theorising about innovative thinking, here are some barriers listed by Brian Clark you should remove to grow your innovative thinking ability:

  • Trying to find the “right” answer – there’s often more than one “correct” answer, try reframing the issue in several different ways to prompt different answers
  • Logical thinking – think metaphorically; real life is ambiguous
  • Following rules – ask “why” or “why not” whenever confronted with the way “everyone” does things
  • Being practical – it often stifles innovative ideas before they can properly blossom
  • Play is not working – allow your mind to be at play when at work
  • That’s not my job – view yourself as an explorer rather than a highly specialized cog in the machine
  • Being a “serious” person – give yourself permission to turn everything that’s accepted upside down and shake out the illusions
  • Avoiding ambiguity – ambiguity is your friend if you’re looking to innovate
  • Being wrong is bad – ask yourself, what’s the worst that can happen if I’m wrong?
  • I’m not creative – if you tell yourself you’re not creative, it becomes true; we’re all limitlessly creative

Author: Dr Gerhard van Rensburg

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Rather than theorising about innovative thinking, there are some barriers you should remove to grow your innovative thinking ability

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