The future is now and it’s quite amazing. The world has been introduced to space colonization, AI and version 3 of our idea management platform. But with so many great technologies already out there, how can you stay on top of the game? Read on to discover the most useful innovation hacks.

Hang on for some innovation hacks that will completely change your creative process!

Share the same dream

When you work together, you work better. Imagine how smooth everything would go if you’d share the same brain with your team.

Until a wearable will allow us to connect like that, you can leverage some innovation hacks. First, set out the ‘project objectives’. Determine the purpose of your work and how much impact it must have so that it will become a success. Agree on deadlines for the different stages of development to make sure you move fast. It’s all about adopting a common approach.

To support the project objectives, a team must also align its expectations. A way of achieving this is by defining the ‘solution space’. In other words, highlight strategic possibilities and future discussion topics. After completing these steps, you’ll have a good overview over the challenge at hand.

Because it is important to stay on the same page all throughout the process, an idea management platform like Ideanote always comes in handy. More often than not, the greatest ideas come when you least expect them. Don’t let them go to waste! Open our app and share your ideas and know-how with the team. Some of your colleagues might already have questions for you – these are what we call ‘missions’. Step in and give your input on these missions. Other times you might have a question yourself that you want your colleagues’ input about. In that case, create your own mission and select a targeted audience that can contribute with ideas. Handpick the people that know best, or make a general call. With Ideanote’s clear interface it is easy to see team progress and understand exactly what challenges you are facing. Help each other, improve on your ideas and make them grow.

Listen and observe

Knowing your audience is key. The first priority should be uncovering new needs that the user has. More often than not, your target audience can’t asses its own pain points. To keep fueling the innovation process, the team should observe the consumer. Pay attention to their intangible experiences and activities. What are they saying, doing and feeling? Collect and share these insights to keep everyone posted, as explained before.

But observation is not enough to get an in-depth understanding of the target user. Other handy innovation hacks will help you make the right decisions. Worth mentioning are the ‘user interviews’. The best approach is to conduct them in the everyday context of the consumer. This way, the insights gained will be more realistic. Choose the right people to interview and take a peek into their life. Try to get a feel of their real needs and empathize. Your innovation efforts will surely pay off later.

Use visual innovation hacks

A visual team-based process creates better outcomes than individual work. That’s because people feel more motivated to complete their tasks. For example, ‘visual planning’ is a method used to enhance commitment and collaboration. All participants have to place their personal milestones on a board or a poster. Afterwards, they check for dependencies between their missions and assign ‘track owners’. With frequent follow-up, everybody knows what to do even when working from a remote location.

But what happens if your ideas are not out-there enough? After all, unexpected solutions are at the core of innovation. To help increase your creativity, use the ‘design matrix’. Break down your task into sub-elements and generate alternatives for them. The solution space will increase as members add different concepts. You can use Ideanote’s platform to manage all ideas. Review the proposals by commenting and rating them. Then group them together if it makes sense, and pick the best. Give catchy names for your new missions. Explore and optimize.

Hop on the learning carousel

For a while now, the world of innovators and entrepreneurs is echoing Eric Reyes’s teachings. In his famous book ‘The Lean Startup’, Eric highlights the importance of the Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop. The idea is to make simple prototypes, test them and learn whether to continue or to change the strategy. Even though it was first conceived for Web Entrepreneurship, his method can be applied to almost any market. That’s why companies around the world swear by its effectiveness.

First rule: Turn your ideas into a product as fast as possible or others will do it before you. The trap that most teams fall into is spending too much time developing. This creates supplementary costs and wastes valuable time. One of the best innovation hacks for avoiding the same mistake is ‘fast prototyping’. This approach allows a team to get feedback before detailing the solution. Build simple models that will test different features of the concept one by one. Focus on getting the information which will be useful for creating the final product. By doing so, you generate a higher speed of learning.

The data obtained from each experiment is essential. Organize the information in a way that will make it easy to understand. Share it with the whole team and stakeholders alike. Determine together whether real progress is being made or not. But don’t be fooled by vanity metrics. In other words, make sure the results are not influenced by a temporary event. It is equally important to let your ego aside. Even after extensive market and user research, your previous findings may prove to be wrong. Always be open to feedback and make the necessary adjustments.

Takeaway

The average person spends 2,000 hours at work every year. That’s almost more time than you spend at home, so make it worth it. Begin by creating a project vision that everybody will strive for. Then learn from reality, get valuable insights and forecast your customers’ needs. With a bit of strategy, you’ll see that uncertainties become a thing of the past. That’s because innovation hacks give your idea a head start.

At Ideanote we’re always onto the cool new things, and fortunately we love sharing with you. Read our article about Innovations, ideas and trends in 2018 or find out The Connection Between Great Leaders and Idea Management.