Where Do Innovative Ideas Come From? 6 Channels - Iredafe Owolabi
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Six Innovation Channels to Transform Your Career and Business

In the dynamic landscape of careers and businesses, the currency of innovation is invaluable. The ability to innovate is not just a professional asset; it’s often the difference between stagnation and growth, success and obscurity. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the profound realm of innovation, exploring six channels that can infuse fresh and transformative ideas into your career, business, and personal life. 

If you do not know what innovation is and how it differs from creativity, read this article: What is Innovation? 7 Keys to Breaking out of the Box of Tradition.

Where Do Innovative Ideas Come From?

Where Do Innovative Ideas Come From? Understanding Innovation

Before we embark on this exploration, it’s crucial to establish a fundamental understanding of innovation. In my previous blog titled The 2 Basic Difference Between Creativity and Innovation, we discerned between creativity and innovation.

Creativity, the act of conjuring something out of nothing, stands distinct from innovation, which involves crafting something new from existing elements. This distinction is more than semantic; it forms the bedrock of our journey into the various channels of innovation.

The timeless wisdom encapsulated in the book of Ecclesiastes resonates through the ages. In Ecclesiastes 1:9, Solomon gives us insight into innovation. It says:

“There is no new thing under the sun.”

This ancient insight reminds us that innovation, in its essence, often involves the artful recombination of existing ideas and methods in a unique manner. So, how do we tap into this wealth of innovation waiting to be discovered?

Additional Resource:
1. Can Creativity Be Taught or Learned? 2 Powerful Reasons

2. 10 Reasons Why Creativity and Innovation is Important in Business and Work

3. 2 Dynamic Types of Thinking and How to Use Them Creatively

4. How to Brainstorm Ideas and Creative Solutions – 8 Easy Steps

5. What is the Source of Creativity, Innovation and Invention?

Innovation Channels

Channel 1: Past Methods – Learning from Predecessors

Our first channel is a tribute to the wisdom of ages gone by – Past Methods. Imagine a repository of knowledge, a treasure trove of ideas waiting to be explored.

By studying the methods and practices of those who walked the paths before us, we open doors to innovation. The evolution of technology stands as a testament to this principle; each new technological marvel builds upon the foundations of its predecessors.

Consider Moses, a revered figure in biblical history. His journey, though marked by glorious moments of divine guidance, also serves as a cautionary tale about the perils of clinging to past methods.

When faced with a recurring challenge of providing water to his people, Moses, fell into the trap of tradition by holding unot the idea of hitting the rock even when God was trying to get him to think outside the box of that method. God’s attempt to introduce innovation, instructing Moses to speak to the rock, went unheeded, leading to an untimely end to Moses’s career.

The lesson here is clear:

Innovation often demands a departure from the comfortable embrace of tradition. It requires us to study past methods not as rigid doctrines but as adaptable frameworks ready for renewal.

Channel 2: History – A Chronicle of Inspiration

Our second channel takes us on a journey through the annals of time – History. Beyond being a mere record of events, history serves as a wellspring of inspiration for innovation. Consider the story of Ben Carson, a pioneer in the field of medicine. His success in hemispherectomy, the removal of half of the brain to treat severe seizures, wasn’t a stroke of luck but a result of delving into the historical context of the procedure.

Carson’s meticulous study of what had been done before, why it failed, and how it could be improved showcases the transformative power of history in shaping innovative ideas. Thus, in our own pursuits, whether in an office, a laboratory, or a studio, delving into the history of our endeavors can provide rich soil for the seeds of innovation to flourish. Listen to the podcast below to learn how to innovate via audio if you are an auditory learner.

Channel 3: Reading Books – Nourishing the Mind

The third channel invites us to open the pages of knowledge – Reading Books. I have seen by observation and personal practice that reading stimulates the mind, fostering an environment ripe for creative ideation. A well-chosen book becomes a catalyst, propelling you into realms of thought you might never have ventured on your own.

For the curious mind, books serve as companions on the journey of innovation. As I immerse myself in the thoughts and experiences of others, my own creativity is sparked, and my thinking fine-tuned. The power of a well-crafted sentence or a profound idea lingers in my mind, laying the groundwork for innovative breakthroughs in my own endeavors.

If you want a book that can help you stimulate your creativity to generate innovative ideas for your business or career, I recommend you get my book titled “Ignite Your Creativity” on Amazon via this link. You can also grab the PDF version of the book here.

Ignite Your Creativity
Ignite Your Creativity

Channel 4: Nature – A Masterclass in Ingenuity

The fourth channel urges us to step outside and observe the world around us – Nature. From the intricate dance of plants to the precision of animal behavior, nature presents a masterclass in ingenuity. Solomon’s timeless wisdom, echoed in the book of Proverbs 6, directs us to the ant, urging us to learn from its diligent habits.

Go to the ant, you sluggard;consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,  yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.

Consider the fascinating story of Isaac Newton, sitting beneath an apple tree, observing a falling apple. This seemingly mundane event led to a profound revelation—the discovery of the law of gravity. By studying the patterns and phenomena in nature, innovators like Newton found inspiration for groundbreaking ideas.

The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, drew inspiration from observing birds, especially the majestic eagle. This observation sparked the idea that humans could fly, leading to the invention of the airplane. Nature, with its silent language of patterns and processes, offers a rich tapestry for those seeking innovative ideas.

Channel 5: Studying Other Innovators – A Lesson in Success Leaves Clues

This channel of innovation encourages us to turn our gaze towards our contemporaries and predecessors – Studying Other Innovators. As the popular saying goes, “success leaves clues”, and the journeys of those who have triumphed in their respective fields are a treasure trove of insights. By observing other problem solvers and innovators, I gain valuable clues that can guide our own creative endeavors.

The biblical narrative of Isaac provides a poignant example. Studying his father Abraham’s method of digging wells, Isaac adapted and innovated upon this approach. This iterative process allowed him to navigate challenges and achieve remarkable success, exemplifying the power of learning from the experiences of others.

In your own pursuits, observing and studying the strategies, challenges, and victories of those who have walked similar paths can illuminate your way forward. Success becomes not just an individual triumph but a collective beacon, guiding the innovative spirit toward new horizons.

Channel 6: Real-Time Data – The Pulse of Innovation

Our final channel immerses us in the dynamic currents of the present – Real-Time Data. In an era where information flows at unprecedented speeds, the ability to analyze and interpret real-time data is a potent tool for innovation. Whether you’re in business, academia, or any field requiring decision-making, staying attuned to the pulse of current discussions and trends is paramount.

Gideon, the biblical figure faced with the daunting task of battling the Midianites, provides a compelling illustration. Instructed by God to infiltrate the enemy camp at night, Gideon eavesdropped on their conversations. This real-time data gathering fortified his resolve and provided strategic insights, ultimately leading to victory.

In our modern context, leveraging reporting tools, analyzing market trends, and staying informed about ongoing discussions in your industry can empower you to make informed and innovative decisions. Real-time data becomes the compass guiding you through uncharted territories, helping you adapt and innovate amidst the ever-evolving landscape.

For further insights on how to extract innovative ideas, read my book titled “4D Thinking”. You can get a copy on amazon here. You can grab the PDF version of the book here.

4D Thinking
4D Thinking

Conclusion: How To Innovate

As we conclude our journey through these six channels of innovation, we find ourselves at the intersection of wisdom and action. The art of innovation is a symphony, weaving together the threads of past methods, historical insights, literary inspirations, nature’s teachings, the wisdom of other innovators, and the dynamic rhythm of real-time data.

In embracing these channels, we transcend the boundaries of tradition, charting new courses in our careers, businesses, and personal lives. Whether you’re working on a new project, seeking to revitalize a stagnant career, or envisioning the next breakthrough in your industry, these channels will help you to explore, adapt, and innovate.

Remember, innovation is not a destination but a continuous journey—one that requires an open mind, a curious spirit, and a willingness to learn from the past, observe the present, and shape the future.

PS: To invite me as a keynote speaker, fill this form and let’s get the conversation going.

As you embark on your own innovation expedition, may these channels serve as your guide, leading you to discoveries that propel you beyond the confines of convention into the boundless realms of creativity and success.

Which of these channels of innovations have you already been using before you read this article? Let me know in the comments section.


Further Reading:
How to Birth Your Brainchild and Ideas: 8 Proven Steps

2. 5 Proven Steps to Tap into Fourth Dimensional Creativity

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About the Author

Iredafe is a creativity coach, author, and software engineer with a passion for unlocking creative potential and inspiring individuals to master the business of their creativity.

He is an author of 17+ books based in Canada. He speaks, writes books and blogs on topics of utmost interest which includes Creativity, 4D Thinking, Problem Solving, Authorpreneurship, and Kingdom.