Innovation: Turn Your Idea Inside Out

Last week I wrote a post about innovation and employee engagement over at the Brandon Hall Group blog. The basic idea is that listening to, and implementing, employee ideas is a great way to get them engaged within the business.

In the post I talked about a recent Indiegogo campaign I contributed to. I’m really excited about the campaign, so I wanted to share more details here.

I have three kids. One is still in a car carrier, but the other two are in booster seats. Those boosters are massive, and they are tough to get in and out of the car. Then I heard about this new thing called a mifold.

mifold graphic

This is pretty amazing for a variety of reasons:

  • it’s small enough to fit in a backpack, yet safe enough to protect my kids
  • it doesn’t try to seat a child like an adult (pushing up); instead, it pulls the lap belt down to their level.
  • if my older kids are still in boosters when my youngest is ready for one, all three will fit
  • we hate planning for booster seats on travel–we either have to fly with seats or pay to rent them when we arrive

Innovation happens at the point of need

What this most reminds me of is just how innovation happens. It’s typically not when people are sitting in a room and trying to “brainstorm” ideas. It comes when someone has a frustration that isn’t being met by the current system. The times I was able to truly push something innovative through the pipeline were when they affected several people, caused stress or other problems, and had a solution that wasn’t one of the “normal” ways of resolving problems.

Think about your organization as you look at the mifold. How could you bring a solution to a common problem (or multiple problems) today?