You’ve heard this story, but it still rings true. Man walks into a hardware store and asks for a 1/2 inch drill bit.
Clerk smiles and walks him over to the appropriate aisle.
“Here’s just what you need, my friend! A 1/2″ bit for your power drill,” crooned the clerk with a bit more enthusiasm than needed.
The customer smirked and replied. “what I really need is a hole that is one half inch wide.”
A lesson taught for $4.98 plus tax.
So your colleagues, board of directors, partners, are crying for greater innovation from your operations. You need to create products and services that have more more dynamic benefit for your customers. But is innovation the drill bit — or the hole?
You need shazam, whiz-bangery and you need it now, Inspector Gadget.
Everyone hails innovation. But, truthfully, an innovation is the end product, too often undefined or vaguely conceived by the development team on the front end of a project. iPod was the innovation, but the reality was the consumer had 1,000 favorite songs on 100 CDs requiring time-consuming sorting and spacetaking storage. The user wanted all his music available with immediacy at the touch of a single button (or, screen) and would pay handsomely for the convenience.
A genius named Jobs recognized sorting + storage + ubersimple commands = high value product. That was ingenuity ignited.
Ingenuity is the act that yields clever, resourceful, and inventive solutions to a specific need or desire — often to a public that does not yet realize the need or desire. Ingenuity may sprout from an individual or a team working towards a collective goal. As when MacGuyver needs to escape a fiberglass cage suspended by a rope over a vat of man-eating acid and said rope is on fire. Our man fashions a lock pick from a broken eyebrow pencil, a zipline from a bent Romanian flagpole, and a fire extinguisher from a guava, an Alka-Seltzer, and a Slushie cup straw. Voilà.
Ingenuity is the ignition of imagination, insight, intuitiveness and other dimensions of creative thinking that ultimately yields beneficial solutions or innovation.
Ingenuity is the act, the verb. Innovation is the noun. My intent is to focus on the action of creativity in life. As my my friend and author of great reflection on life and living, Patti Digh so wisely offers in her books and blog — “life is a verb!”
So is ingenuity.
My goal is to create and share my thoughts on the many dimensions of creative thinking after a long, award-winning career in advertising, marketing, and public affairs. This book will offer productive methods individuals and teams can engage to harness their own cerebral resources, enrich native cognitive talents, excite creativity and stimulate expressive ideation. To strike a spark and ignite ingenuity.
In the days and weeks ahead I will be posting draft chapters of my book, Ingenuity! here on my blog, mirrored on LinkedIn, Facebook, and my Twitter & Instagram feeds @douglasarnold. See all my posts to be earmarked with #IngenuityGuru.
You are invited to accompany me on this journey and I sincerely hope you will do so. There will be some surprises, some fun, a few incentives, a gift or two, and a treasury of tools you can use in your future endeavors.
Every journey starts with one, small step. Let’s get our Neil Armstrong on.