What are the most powerful innovation and problem solving methods?
Here is a quick run-down of 12 of the most powerful innovation and problem-solving tools:
1. Asking questions
2. Looking at assumptions
3. Cross-disciplinary & cross-industry study & models & solutions (exporting solution from low density to high density)
4. Design thinking (theoretically an impressive way to solve both business and wicked problems). Its unique value is that its a process & a set of tools–not just a single tool. It also uses the tools of Service Design as well. It also understands human experience as fundamentally emotional & visual–or at least that our efforts to solve problems need to take those issues very seriously in order to be effective.
5. Looking for gaps & problems
6. Association & combination (Reese cup innovation)
7. Competitions (like the X Prize)
8. Crowd sourcing (like Open IDEO)
9. Six Hats (De Bono Method) & TRIZ
10. Interviews, Ethnography, Listening, Observation (other methods of providing a feedback loop)
11. Checklists & mindmaps
12. Prototyping & iterative improvement
One key thing to think about. Various methods which improve risk taking. Without risk taking innovation at the idea level never gets expressed and/or the ideas never get tried. That also means that group dynamics need to embrace new & off the wall ideas.
To me #4 is probably the most powerful. It integrates many of the others into its fold.