The View from the Castle Rock - Business Innovation

The View from the Castle Rock - Business Innovation -

Thoughts by Alice Munro

Article Paraphrasing by Alan W. Urech

Recently, I read a book called The Rock by Alice Munro.  The beginning of the book review that got me interested in this book states, “an old master gives us an exemplary what-not-to-do-list.”  I think that Alice Munro would like to avoid the “old” title but then the reviewer is under 35 so I guess we are all old to him.  However, her 10 creative rules of what-not-to-do when composing a story seem very appropriate for idea innovation.
1.    Don’t think you need special effects or big- budgets. Ethnographic works just fine when you capture the future sense of the imagination.
2.    Don’t eschew the plain. Strive to describe your ideas with fewer words and less syllables. Avoid trite and motherhood phases.
3.    Don’t assume you know more than your characters (customers). Customers know what they know and let them speak their voice.
4.    Don’t try to make your characters consistent. Life doesn’t. It is interesting that many new concepts do not follow a straight logic path, there are many twist and turns in ideations.
5.    Don’t get beyond yourself. Make sure you know the obvious in the idea concept before you get below the surface.
6.    Don’t give us a steady point of view. If everyone in your exploratory ideation has the same point of view, get new and different voices! Engineers are the worst, 1+1 must equal 2!
7.    Don’t stick to what you know firsthand. Innovation is about change and exploring new frontiers, remember incremental innovation may be the easiest, but leads to small increases in profit.
8.    Don’t look away from anything. Be unsentimental about your idea concept; the real world may be frightening but learn to let go of attachments
9.    Don’t be linear or too sensible. So many great stories start at the end and then fill in the details (attributes).
10.   Don’t be afraid of going where you’ve never been before. The words I hear that tells me that innovation may not have a chance in an organization is NIH (not invented here) and WNDTB (we never did that before). These phases are at the opposite end of an innovative company.
I hope these "Rules" for innovation help you develop your opportunity into a product that is valuable to others. 


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