We always face the need to look for disruptive ideas that make us different from others. This sounds like a repetitive background music we hear to stay alive in the ever-faster changing market. The decision criteria from our clients, their needs, the product/service offer channels, the competitors are all changing. Same song as always, isn’t it?
Perhaps the biggest difference from the past is the speed of change, forcing us to stay awake to be able to foresee them avoiding to be swallowed by it. We have already discusses this in our blog. Today we are reflecting about where to look when we need new ideas.
We may get disappointed when we thing all our inspiration sources are already exhausted from continuously squeezing our brains. It is not true however. We should continue looking for more because the sources of inspiration are infinite. We just need to look at our relevant market with new eyes (as Proust said – “The real journey to discovery lies not in discovering new lands, but in looking with new eyes”).
Let’s take an example. The lay out of the Apple Stores were inspired on an airline and a hotel chain. However, Apple Stores are not similar to any of them. We know that importing know-how from non-related fields of knowledge works. However, we truly tend to unconsciously limit ourselves. As one of friends say, “when you sell hammers, all you see around is nails”.
IKEA created a hybrid from other sectors reapplying what many furniture shops were doing, i.e., selling furniture. Amazon started selling low cost products, books, via the Internet. Starbucks brought sofas to their coffee shops, suggesting that clients could stay a long time to take their coffee. None of these approaches were initially obvious.
We could continue naming many more examples of imported inspirations from other sectors, from nature, from what we hear from clients, suppliers or even competitors.
To have new ideas we should use ingredients often rare to find: imagination, serenity, open mind, humility to unlearn, listen to the environment with 360º open ears, acceptance of help, try fast and cheap… until we hit the bull’s eye.
Finding new ideas is not so difficult because everything we have mentioned is available and reachable. We need not travel far to get it. It is inside ourselves!
If this is true, why do we feel so disoriented when looking for new ideas? Why don’t we put our own capabilities to work and move to action to squeeze their promising potential?