New ideas often arrive at the most inconvenient of times. As I sit here writing this blog, I’m reminded of the seemingly hundreds of blog ideas that have occurred to me over the past year whilst I’ve been driving my car. I don’t keep a notepad in the car (as I try to avoid being distracted as I drive), but I always make a mental note to write the idea down when I reach my destination. Sadly more often than not, I have forgotten it by the time that I arrive. I am also renowned for waking up in the early hours of the morning, having a fantastic innovative new business idea, but falling back to sleep and forgetting it by morning. Perhaps you find similar things happen to you too…
It seems that ideas and innovation are often triggered by the most surprising of stimuli. A left-field idea can be triggered by a seemingly unrelated insight. It’s tempting to think that we are at nature’s mercy, and innovative ideas can only be created by a serendipitous coincidence. Yet there is much we can do to stimulate innovation – and much has been written discussing the virtues of creative thinking, brainstorming and many other ways of cultivating innovation.
Yet, it strikes me, that when we are looking for innovative new ideas we often overlook a real asset that our organisation holds: Data.
Before I continue, I should be very clear – I’m absolutely not trying to suggest we should force innovation nor am I underplaying the importance of those happy innovative coincidences that do occur. However, when organisations need to innovate – and in many industries innovation becomes a pre-requisite for survival – data can be a rich source of inspiration and insight. We can draw on our data for potential scenarios and ideas for the future.