Tag Archives: The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO America’s Leading Design Firm

Let’s Try Something; Let’s Try Something Different; Let’s Try Something New

In the book The Art of Innovation:  Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm by Tom Kelley, we find this simple suggestion:

Observe real people in real life situations to find out what makes them tick…

This is step # 2 in the IDEO five step methodology:

The IDEO five step methodology…
#1  Understand the market.
#2  Observe real people in real life situations to find out what makes them tick…
#3  Visualize new to the world concepts and the customers who will use them.
#4  Evaluate and refine the prototypes in a series of quick iterations.  Plan on a series of improvements.
#5  Implement the new product for commercialization.

This week, I’ve had a chance to do a “ride along” with an account manager for a client (in preparation for some training sessions).  I watched, listened, and learned.

As we talked afterwards, it was clear that a new pair of eyes (mine) could see some things that someone constantly in the midst of an endeavor misses.  Not because of a lack of desire to see – but simply because it is tough to see what is always in front of you.  Thus, the wisdom of IDEO’s approach:  they always start by going out and observing real people, at work or at leisure, with real products, in their own settings…

As I observed, I thought of some recommendations to make.  Some of these are in fact “new.”  Some are, in fact, quite old – you know, the tried and true, but so easily ignored or forgotten.

So, I am preparing a list of “try these” items for our client.  I think it could be valuable.

Now, it’s your turn – and my turn.  Conduct a “ride-along” with yourself.   Yes, it very difficult – to look at and observe your own practices, to look at what you are doing, or not doing, with a new set of eyes.  (It is easier for an “outsider” to see what you have become oblivious to).  And ask these questions, all in the quest to do your work better:

• What can I try?

• What I try that is simply different?

• What can I try that is new?

This much I do know – there is a competitor lurking right around the corner that will offer some of these different/new approaches.  You may as well be the one to come up with them yourself.


You can purchase my synopsis of The Art of Innovation, with handout + audio, at our companion web site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com.