Why do ideas come in the Shower!

An idea can change your life, and how many times that idea has come while you’re  taking a Shower? Here is why:
  1. Showering signals “a new day” or “new beginning.”
  2. You’re usually alone, with time to reflect.
  3. Interruptions are rare.
  4. The rush of water creates a kind of “white noise” that makes concentration easier.
  5. Shower stalls look like little incubation chambers.
  6. Water is associated with “contemplation” (i.e. sitting near a river, lake, or ocean.)
  7. Showering is a metaphor for “getting rid of the dirt” — the stuff that covers up what’s beneath.
  8. Showering is a ritual. Lots of creative people like to have little rituals to get their head in the right place.
  9. You can write your ideas on the walls with a water soluble pen.
  10. There’s not a lot of judgment or analysis going on in a shower.
  11. A hot shower opens the pores — and by extension, maybe the mind.
  12. Showering wakes up you. It makes you more alert.
  13. Showering is a relaxing and stress free experience. With nothing to stress about, your mind is free to roam new territories.
  14. If you shampoo, you’re massaging your head. That’s gotta be good.
  15. It’s hard to check your iphone or Blackberry in a shower.
  16. Albert Einstein also did his best thinking near a shower. (“Why is it I always get my best ideas while shaving?”)
  17. Water is associated with “flow.” Being in the “flow state” is often a precursor to creative thinking.
  18. There is no deliverable expected of you.
  19. If you shower with a friend, and he/she happens to be in a brainstorming mode, lots of great ideas get sparked.
  20. Showering is easy. Not a lot of thinking is required to make it happen, which frees your mind to think about other things.

So Happy Showering 🙂

Never Start Innovation with an Idea

Are you trying to come up with the next big idea to jump-start innovation in your company? Try another approach. Gijs van Wulfen gives us three reasons why you should not start an innovation initiative with new ideas, rather formulate a clear and concrete innovation assignment. Here’s how!

The fuzzy front end of innovation confronts you with a lot of questions. Please have a look at book ‘Creating innovative Products and Services’ where author tried to solve this with the FORTH innovation method.

Never start product or service innovation with an idea. Of course: innovation is initially about ideas. About getting the right ones. And realising these ideas in practice. A shining light bulb has become a global symbol for innovation. Just check Google images and type innovation and then you will see proof of this.

There are three reasons why you should not start with an idea.

  1. An idea makes you blind. Once you got your idea you will probably fall in love with it. That’s a great feeling indeed. But love makes blind, unfortunately. The psychological phenomenon of selective perception will make you see only the positive points of the idea and only listen to people who are supporting you. And in trying to realise the idea you will run in 80 percent of the cases into a hard wall, which will wake you up. Not having an alternative available to realise your personal challenge.
  2. It’s very difficult to convince others. What happens when you tell your idea to someone else? Their first reaction starts often with a ‘but……….’. Others within your company will start criticising your idea the moment it is told to them. An important reason is that the idea is not theirs. Furthermore companies and organisations are organised to get a grip on the current operational processes and to give account of the results produced. Should the size and complexity of the organisation increase, innovation becomes more difficult. The process of innovation seems almost unnatural. A solution is getting ideas together in a team setting so the ownership of the idea is shared.
  3. Only one and a half out of seven new product ideas is really introduced. A number of studies on new product innovation (Robert G. Cooper, 2011) showed that for every seven new-product ideas, about 4 enter development, 1.5 are launched and only 1 succeeds. These are poor odds. There is a chance of around 1 out of 5 that your idea will reach the market. So what do you do when your boss, the vice-president marketing or the innovation board stops your new product idea? Do you have any alternatives available to realise your business challenge? So never bet on one horse. That’s the message.

So, how should you start innovation?

You should never start an innovation expedition unprepared. As good preparation not only increases the chances of success but it also creates priorities, direction and the will to succeed. That’s why it is essential to start with a clear and concrete innovation assignment. This forces the top management in your company, from the start, to be concrete about the market/target group for which the innovations must be developed and which criteria these new concepts must meet. This forms the guidelines for you and your innovation team when you are underway. You can formulate the innovation assignment with the help of the following six questions:

  1. Why?  (Why do we want to innovate);
  2. Who?  (Who is the target group);
  3. Where?  (For which distribution channels, countries, regions or continents);
  4. What?  (Evolutionary or revolutionary; products, services and/or business models);
  5. When? (Intended year of introduction);
  6. Which? (Which criteria the new concepts should meet);

So in discussion with your top management, you can collectively formulate which criteria the new product/service ideas must meet as well as determine the ambition level.

Product Innovations…that makes you say Ah-ha…Wow!

These are the products which you use in your daily life, every now and then, and somehow you don’t even realize how they have revolutionized the idea of being a product….we call this innovation…have a look at it:

You are bound to think while using these products as to why, why in this world someone never ever used or think the same way? This is so very common, but folks this is why we say ‘Common sense is not so common’.

1) Hotel check-in self service kiosks that also allow users to print boarding passes for flights. I got to know about one of our customer who visited us just and shared his experience when he checked in first time at Hilton New York and I was so pleased to hear that…and this is so very interesting to know that how much importance it is for you as a customer who in rush hour forgets to take the printouts of the boarding passes…

2) Ketchup bottles that sit upside down so that it is easy to dispense ketchup. Again, this now appears on toothpastes, body washes etc. I mean wow!, wow! and wow! how in this world you did not think of this issues more often…

Ketchup bottle

3) I am always been confused whenever I stayed in Hotels is US, I mean to use the shower was so very painful experience for me…which way to turn the knob, how much to turn the knob…phew…this is where the experience in making ‘Mental Model’ of the product make it so very helpful…Don’t let me THINK.

You can fill in many features with in a product but you should not do this at a cost where your customer is finding it hard to even reach out to the basic features of the product….

Industrial designers have mastered the art of ethnography, software industry is way behind. When it comes to software, it is very easy for us to say “user error” or classify the user as an incompetent user. This has to change and I am positive it will.

You do not have to invent another “ipod” like product to innovate. After all, there are more evolutionary product innovations than revolutionary innovations. All one need to do is get out of one’s office and observe real people using your product… Do you?