I like you, but I’m not in love with you.
I mean, where are we going to be a month down the road, maybe a year?
I think I’m ready for something new.
For some of you, the last time you heard these phrases was the last time you saw a high school sweetheart or a summer fling. For the rest of you, these phrases conjure up memories of your last brainstorming session.
Sometimes, knowledge creation can take an act of God. When Voltaire popularized the myth about Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation being inspired by an apple falling on Newton’s head, he not only heroicized the one of the most famous figures in science, but he recognized the occasional need for a trigger–something to stimulate innovation.
In an interview with InnovationTools.com, Frank Spencer of KedgeForward introduces “imagination incubators,” to the innovation strategy lexicon, and recommends that companies invest in creative environments and other tools that awaken and influence thought.
Above: Zemoga’s very own imagination incubator in our Bogota offices
Clearly, Zemoga knows a thing or two about creative environments. Our Innovation Lab embodies the tools and the methods that lead to that stroke of genius where we’re not just creating a product, we’re changing the game. We focus. We research. We analyze. And then the magic happens. Finding a digital solution that not only turns heads, but turns corners as well, is the perfect combination of talent, knowledge, and creative spark.
Like the Newton legend, creative spark can fall out of the sky. You can wait for it to occur. Or you can arm yourself with an arsenal of proverbial apples, tools that organize and enlighten thought. Here are a few to get you started:
The clever folks at Ideo found a way to inspire great design through their Method Cards. Each of the 51 cards guides the user through an aspect of Ideo’s design process with instruction and application, and urges the user to respect a fundamental element of Ideo’s mission: to keep people at the heart of design. Similarly, Meta Memes presents the Think Cube, which lets users “exercise their creative muscles” by interacting with an Idea Library, an Idea Notepad, and a handbook describing the ThinkCubation approach to successful brainstorming. Developed by inventor and computer scientist Kes Sampanthar, the Think Cube is a great exercise in the organic development of ideas.
Because innovation can happen anytime and anywhere, creative service Behance invented Idea Paint, which transforms any smooth surface into your very own whiteboard. Ever do some of your best thinking on the can? Well, now you can. Roger von Oech, author of A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative, stimulates the mind with his award-winning Ball of Whacks. The ball is actually a 30-sided rhombic triacontahedron (say it with me now: TRI-a-CON-ta-HE-dron) composed of magnetic design blocks that can be arranged into a multitude of unique shapes. The Ball of Whacks challenges the user to look at things from different perspectives and comes with an illustrated guidebook filled with suggestions on how to maximize your brainstorming and problem-solving.
Bubbl.us is an easy-to-use web application where users can assemble “mind maps,” or visual representations of their ideas. Users create bubbles of thought, color-code them, move them around, and link them to each other. The finished mind map can be published on a website, printed, or shared with friends. Mindjet shares a similar goal, with a focus on collaboration. Their MindManager takes the bubble-and-branch format to the next level with images, hyperlinks, and other attachments, as well as sorts, searches, and multiple views.
Artist Damien Hirst watches snooker tournaments for inspiration. Leonardo DaVinci dug up corpses to study the human soul (we do not recommend this, by the way). What activities and techniques do you use to drive creativity?