After over 45 years at the forefront of design innovation, IDC is sharing a few secrets for inspiring creativity and innovation.
1. A process of innovation
It’s often said that people need to ‘think out of the box’ and approach creativity with a ‘blank piece of paper’. These things are true, but innovation without boundaries can lead to an overload of choice and quickly turn chaotic.
When designing products, we are looking for an inspiring design which delivers commercial success, and this is very much linked to the user. The best products are designed with complete user understanding and actually go beyond expectations to become market leaders. There also needs to be a full appreciation of the best materials and manufacturing processes to achieve a solution that is commercially successful. It is easy to lose sight of these end targets if there is no overall direction.
One of the reasons that IDC is so effective at designing successful products is that it has developed its own four stage innovation process - this is not a rigid structure that stifles creativity, but a gentle process that directs creativity and reminds teams about what they need to achieve at different stages of the design. Take a look at IDC’s design process online at: www.idc.uk.com/our-process/
2. Inspire a culture of free thinking
From new starters right through to directors, promote an environment which encourages contributions from every member of the team. Companies can empower junior and inexperienced staff by encouraging a problem-solving attitude within the workplace. This can be extremely effective at raising confidence levels so that all staff are able to contribute solutions and explore innovative ideas.
Supporting this ethos, at IDC we also have weekly company meetings where staff regularly share ideas and knowledge, as well as specific brainstorming sessions and an informal office which invites creativity. There are many benefits of bringing different staff together - from creative designers to highly technical engineers and prototyping experts - these different mindsets help inspire diversity of ideas.
3. Cross fertilisation of ideas
Take inspiration from outside - whether it be another industry, another part of the world or even nature. IDC is fortunate in being a product design consultancy that works across many different industries and parts of the world, and we often get inspired by totally unrelated concepts which spark an idea that is transferable to a particular development.
An interesting application of certain materials, manufacturing processes or sustainability in one industry may lead to their potential use in another. By encouraging staff to attend industry events and subscribe to relevant magazines, they should be open to inspiration from a wide variety of sources.
One of IDC’s recent products was inspired by nature; taking the shape and position of eagles’ eyes in developing a powerful bike light with highly visible side lights. The success of this one product led to a whole range of award-winning bike lights, all designed on the same principle. Take a look at the case study of this product at: www.idc.uk.com/consumer/case-studies/production-description/
Inspiration for creativity and innovation is all around us, it's the process of interpreting and applying this in the right way that counts.