By Hayes Knight – 21 October 2016

Most of us will remember the now iconic TV and print ads from Apple in the late 1990’s which featured the slogan “Think Different.” The ads inspired people everywhere to become one of the crazy ones and to be innovative and look to change the world.

Fast forward to 2016 and innovation is even more important in a marketplace where consumers are looking for relevant brands that are not only creative but also switchedon about what they need. The most successful businesses also have one thing in common – they think differently. We explore 25 ways for you and your business to think differently and be innovative.

01 Have more fun in the workplace

Don’t follow the pack. Be original. Disrupt your industry

Make new mistakes. Mistakes are healthy and normal

Don’t think about what might happen, but imagine what you can make happen

Innovation requires no fixed rules or template

Swim in a different direction to others. The water is also smoother away from others

Innovation isn’t always about big changes to your business. It can be incremental changes to products or service offerings

Add colour, photos and art, to your workspace. Regularly move team member’s physical workspaces and reconfigure whenever possible

Take fear out of the workplace. A culture of fear is fatal for an innovative business

Rotate employees into new areas, service lines or projects. Encourage teams to broaden their perspectives

Add diversity to your workforce. Diversity brings freshness of ideas and viewpoints

Be courageous. Going against the grain, looking at options and stepping out of your comfort zone requires courage

Ask the question -“Wouldn’t it be cool if…”

Ensure a high level of personal freedom and trust. Give more time for your team to pursue new ideas and innovations

Encourage communication in the workplace. Make it easy for this to happen across your business

Ask the question – Why do we do this? Ask questions about everything. Then ask them in different ways

Network. Share.Collaborate. Mix and spend time with a diverse group of people with different backgrounds and experiences. Learn from others

New employees are a great source of new ideas. They also challenge your way of thinking and provide a new perspective. Get new hires together and provide them the opportunity to share their thoughts

Develop a process of trying out new concepts quickly and on the cheap. Learn quickly what’s working and what’s not, then move on

View challenges as opportunities. Each challenge or obstacle provides an opportunity to learn, grow and improve a weakness in your business

Take notice of innovation efforts by your team. Encourage these wherever they arise. Reward your team for their efforts

Encourage collaboration. Get your team out of their offices and silos. Encourage people from different areas of your business to meet frequently and informally

Put innovation at the heart of your strategy

View customers as partners in your innovation process. Ask questions of them. Customers can be a great source of innovation ideas and concepts. Use this feedback before committing resources to a new service or product

Be prepared for failure. Embrace and celebrate the fact you won’t always get it right. Failure occurs in 50 to 70 per cent of all new product innovations, even for the most successful companies. Companies who succeed at innovation don’t have a better rate of success than others – they have a LOT of ideas, and product innovations in the pipeline.