Innovation doesn't happen by thinking the same way everyday. Innovation happens when we think different. The challenge however is that thinking different is counter intuitive. A good way to get your mind thinking in a counter intuitive style is to think of the opposites. To get you in the mindset I'd like you to think of the opposites to each word I give you.

Black...............White

Up..................Down

Big..................Small

North...............South

Love................Hate

Peace...............War

Fast.................Slow

Start................Stop

Now what we want to do is to think of an industry and something that's totally opposite. For example if we work in Finance what ideas could we create if we started to think of Romance?

If we work in the Education industry what ideas could we prompt by thinking of Aviation.

If we work in the Mining industry how would our approach change if we started to think as those in Advertising?

Innovation is counter-intuitive. If you've got competitors nipping at your heels or your trying to chase down a competitor, then the level of thinking you've been using isn't working anymore. We need to think different, the only challenge is thinking different is counter intuitive and being counter intuitive can be scary. To get over the fear start with something small like a team meeting. What could be counter intuitive in this fundamental business process? Trust the science and that innovation is counter intuitive, your ideas will come.

 

I love it when you see a smart business innovating by doing something that is counter intuitive. There's a great surf shop on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia called The Sugarmill. The counter intuitive thinking they did was look at adding something you would never consider, say a coffee shop or a flower shop. Totally unrelated elements of the surf industry and yet it works. On an average day when a surf store would be empty, this store has people hanging out drinking coffee, enjoying a smoothie, buying some flowers and suprise suprise buying some surf gear.

What counter intuitive elements could you combine in your industry to create some new commercial ideas? I think that these cool cats are onto a winning idea here.

 

cheers,

Nils