Making time for creative thinking is essential for business innovation – technological or otherwise – says the founder of Melbourne-based consultancy group Inventium.
How do you define innovation?
Change that adds value. People often see innovation as the realm of those in technology but it should be – and can be – everybody’s job.
Before a business introduces a technological innovation, what needs to be assessed?
Whether it’s going to provide a solution to the problem. Too often, new technology is installed because it sounds good, not because it’s solving a problem for the organisation. I always recommend that businesses test the effect of a new technology on a small group of employees rather than take a blanket approach.
What are the challenges during a period of innovation?
Fear of failure is very common and lack of time is often a problem as well. I’m obsessed with how to make the most of your time to free up space for innovation. That incubation period is so important to creative thinking.
How can people harness more of that time in their day?
People think they’re being productive by multitasking but University of Michigan research shows switching tasks all day increases the amount of time it takes to complete a project by about 40 per cent. At Inventium, we have no-email days once a month. The team has the out-of-office on and that is our most productive day.
How do you make your own time more productive?
I don’t check my inbox before lunchtime. I spend half an hour a day [on it] and still maintain close to inbox zero because when I’m in there, that’s my priority. I turn off notifications, too, so pop-ups don’t interrupt me. I deleted Facebook and Instagram from my phone because they were big time suckers and I also deleted Gmail. Now I’m able to stand in line for a coffee without checking my emails and just be present instead.
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