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Innovate on Demand

Columbia University via Coursera

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Overview

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Two of the more prolific myths associated with innovation in organizations are that you must “think outside the box,” and that creativity is something you are born with (or not). This course will debunk these myths, by teaching you to innovate "INSIDE the box", leveraging your knowledge, resources, and expertise in proven step-by-step processes to quickly and effectively generate and implement truly creative ideas.

Through the materials and hands-on exercises, you will discover where creative ideas really come from and how to rapidly and repeatedly generate them on your own – for your own topics – using a set of thinking tools and principles. The course instructors and guests will provide expertise, humor, and many examples to teach you these valuable creativity skills and – more importantly – they will share decades of their own research and experience working on individual, team, and organizational levels to help companies cultivate a self-sustaining practice of innovation alongside curiosity, openness and other habits that make businesses flourish (and make the workplace more rewarding and enjoyable).

Specifically, you will learn:
·The differences between traditional ideas and creative ideas
·Barriers to innovative thinking, how to identify them and overcome them
·How constraints, conceptualization, and visualization can help you see more opportunities around you.
·Function Follows Form, a complementary approach to innovation, to supplement your existing “Voice of the Customer (VOC)” and technology research & development efforts
·Tools and principles for systematic inventive thinking, in order to structure the creative thinking process.
·How to cultivate creativity at every level of the organization through fixed and growth mindsets, diverse teams, using rewards and the need for autonomy.

At the end of the course, you will be able to:
·Discover and surmount self-imposed roadblocks that prevent you from seeing creative ideas right in front of you
·Apply a systematic method that will help you find differentiated, interesting solutions to problems and new opportunities in your work
·Develop mindsets and create cultural structures to improve the pathway of innovation for yourself and your organization
·Communicate to your colleagues how innovation can be accomplished through structure, rather than chaos

Syllabus

Program Introduction and Welcome
In this course, you will explore creativity, learn systematic techniques for creative problem solving, apply a series of tools to bring about innovation, and learn how managers can cultivate the individual and organizational mindsets needed to turn creative ideas into winning innovations. In this Introduction/Welcome module, you will learn about the goals and structure of this course, will get a chance to hear from each of the course’s instructors, and will see an example of a product innovation that came about using Systematic Inventive Thinking. This method is taught in the later modules of the course and is presented along with many examples of well-known products and marketing messages that were created using the method. You will read about how teams apply the method to business innovation problems in the accompanying text, “Inside the Box,” written by Jacob Goldenberg and Drew Boyd, and will hear from Drew himself throughout the course about the best ways to manage innovation projects. Before you dive into the course, please be sure to go through the program orientation materials and syllabus by visiting the Course Resources. If you have any questions, please let us know.

Introduction to Creativity
The business world is flooded with books that encourage us to "think outside the box" and trends like "creativity rooms," both of which imply that finding creativity requires leaving the normal world. This unit will show you the real secret location and shape of creative ideas, in what we call the "Near, Far, Sweet Spot Model." You will see how good ideas often emerge from the components of the problem's own Closed World of components and related concepts. Lastly, you will see limited resources and contradictions can be a surprising source of opportunity for creative exploration.

Fixedness
Every thought and idea we will have today will be connected to previous concepts that we have stored in our brains. This causes us to see new situations that arise according to the things we already know and understand. We call this fixedness. With fixedness, we and the people in our organizations quickly jump to conclusions about our products, services, and even our business models. Fixedness is an evolutionary mechanism that helps us survive every day life. The problem is that fixedness can keep us from seeing the unique approaches and solutions that are staring us in the face. In this unit, you will learn what fixedness is, why it comes so naturally and how breaking it could be the key to your next creative idea.

Tools
We are moving into the meat of the course—tools and methods to generate creative, feasible ideas. These tools and methods are designed to break fixedness by helping you define, conceptualize, visualize and then manipulate the otherwise hidden features of your problems and of typical solutions. In this unit you will learn how to transform traditional brainstorming sessions by collecting your team's top-of-head solutions and asking, "What are we really doing through these ideas, and what else could we do instead?"

Tools (Continued)
We are moving into the meat of the course—tools and methods to generate creative, feasible ideas. These tools and methods are designed to break fixedness by helping you define, conceptualize, visualize and then manipulate the otherwise hidden features of your problems and of typical solutions. In this unit you will learn how to transform traditional brainstorming sessions by collecting your team's top-of-head solutions and asking, "What are we really doing through these ideas, and what else could we do instead?"

Method
In this course we have spent most our time discovering what creative ideas look like, where to look to find them, and how tools like conceptualization and constraints can help you generate them. In this unit, we will learn the Systematic Inventive Thinking method and its accompanying templates and workflow. We will look to the theory of creative ideas to find reproducible patterns in innovations that can be turned into templates for future problem-solving. These templates and the process in which to effectively apply them will form the bulk of the unit's learning. The videos and exercises will provide a broad range of examples of innovations in products, marketing messages, services and processes that utilized this powerful innovation methodology.

Method (Continued)
We will continue our study of the Systematic Inventive Thinking method and its accompanying templates and workflow. We will look to the theory of creative ideas to find reproducible patterns in innovations that can be turned into templates for future problem-solving. These templates and the process in which to effectively apply them will form the bulk of the unit's learning. The videos and exercises will provide a broad range of examples of innovations in products, marketing messages, services and processes that utilized this powerful innovation methodology.

Managing Creativity and Innovation Intro Page
In this last section of the course, we are going to examine how individual and organizational mindsets can help or inhibit creative skill development and engagement. This unit will cover the C.O.R.E. creative traits and fixed and growth mindsets, as well as the key strategies organizational managers can implement to stimulate them.

Taught by

Sean Wiggins and Gita Johar

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