Got a problem that needs a creative solution? Check out Sticky Wisdom: How to Create a Creative Revolution at Work. Written by the folks at ?WhatIf!, a leading innovation consultancy headquartered in the UK, it’s an easy read that breaks down the barriers to creativity. For those of us that aren’t naturally creative geniuses, Sticky Wisdom, provides practical tools that will help anyone innovate.
One of the most helpful techniques outlined in the book is called “Revolution”. The core of this concept is to challenge the rules and assumptions associated with the problem you are trying to solve. You first define the rules and assumptions and then you flip them on their head to see if you can come up with something new.
The only way to fully understand “Revolution” is to give it a spin. Let’s take the white ceramic teacup on my desk next to my mouse and see if we can improve on it.
After completing a quick version of “Revolution”, let’s try to come up with five innovations from the original white ceramic teacup.
1. Teacups for Charity – Teacups hand-painted by a local children’s charity where half of the profits go to the charity.
2. Wine Tumbler w/ Handle – A wine tumbler (stemless wine glass) with a handle to avoid temperature changes caused by the heat from your hand (a reason for the stem in the first place) .
3. Gourd Teacups – Sell gourds as teacups and market them as “green”.
4. Teacup Hand-Warmer – A large thick plastic teacup that has spaces for both hands that serves as both a teacup and hand-warmer
5. Disposable Tea-Ready Cups – Paper teacup with tea and filter in bottom. Just add water.
I’d say that’s not bad for one person brainstorming about a product for 15 minutes. Imagine what your entire team could do for your business in two hours! The toughest part isn’t the exercise. That’s fun. It’s stopping your daily routine to try something new.
For a more detailed look at ?Whatif!’s “Revolution” exercise and others like it, grab a copy of Sticky Wisdom.