David Frederick's | iAIR BLOG

Consulting, Innovation, Strategy, Vision, Education, & Ideation

Innovation – Where To Start

I recently had a client ask me about injecting innovation into their business and product strategy. The basic question asked was, how do I get started. I explained that innovation was not a thing you could simply inject. It starts with questions. Asking the right questions. I prefer to use my Aristotelian Framework for Innovation – AIF, to get the ball rolling.

You can also use the 5W2H approach. Not familiar with the 5W2H approach? I bet you are. It is simply asking various questions about the current process, product, service, etc. and how it can be improved. The 5H2W refers to “Why, When, Who, Where, What, How to do, and How not to do”.

Pretty simple right? Not so fast. These questions are deceptively difficult to answer. This is because focusing is never easy. Especially if there are other people involved. Trying to get everyone to align on the answers to the 5H2W or AIF can be a project in and of itself. But if you want to innovative you must start with questions.

Not only do questions help with setting the stage for how and what to innovate, but they start to help you carve our Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) in which to measure the success of your efforts, in this case, innovation. But what about the creative side of innovation? the vision, the imagination, etc.? It has its place. A big place. But like many things, innovation is both art and science. It takes creativity, discipline, measurement, and execution.

So back to my client’s original questions, where to start. Start with questions. Questions lead to ideas. Ideas lead to action. Action leads to results. Result lead to more questions and the circle of innovation continues. Innovation is a dynamic process that feeds itself. The fuel for this cycle is questions.

Keep thinking and keep asking questions. That will get you started down the road to innovation. Like most things in life, it all starts with a simple question. In this case, 5W2H or AIF.

-DF

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Written by David Frederick

September 16, 2009 at 2:02 PM

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