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INNOVATE

Need a Great Idea? Here's Where to Look

It's not rocket science: Sometimes the best ideas come from places you already know. Here's what that means.
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Does the daily grind make it hard for you to turn on your creative thinking?

You're certainly not alone. For anyone looking to boost their creativity, the answer is actually right under your nose.

Debra Kaye, author of Red Thread Thinking: Weaving Together Connections for Brilliant Ideas and Profitable Innovation, has three simple places you can start when you need to have that light-bulb moment asap.

1. Your history. Failed ideas from your company's past may be ripe for another look, says Kaye. A return to your mission can also help jog ideas. Gatorade expanded into sports nutrition after revisiting its roots of marketing to competitive athletes.

2. Your attic. Your company may have hidden assets that could be modified or marketed in new ways. Countless innovations, including Post-it notes and the World Wide Web, have started life with a different purpose.

3. Outside your window. Companies in other industries, outside experts, and creative customers can be fertile sources of inspiration, says Kaye. For instance, Procter & Gamble got the idea for its Magic Eraser cleaning product from a German company that had developed the material for insulation.

 

From the June 2013 issue of Inc. magazine

LEIGH BUCHANAN | Staff Writer | Editor-at-large, Inc. Magazine

Leigh Buchanan is an editor-at-large for Inc. magazine. A former editor at Harvard Business Review and founding editor of WebMaster magazine, she writes regular columns on leadership and workplace culture.




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