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I was asked recently what to do if, after achieving a certain level of seniority in your career, you suspect you are becoming the “NO” to innovative business ideas within your company and/or among your staff?

As in many situations, recognizing you may be part of the problem is a HUGE first step. If you don’t think it’s a major issue yet, here are some strategies you can use to destabilize your experience and force you and those around you to contribute with more innovative perspectives and to grow in new ways:

  • Tear Apart What You’ve Done in the Past – Go back to a seemingly successful past project and really tear it apart, looking for even subtle flaws you could improve upon next time. Doing this can be an important input into forcing you to raise some personal performance standards which may have naturally softened over the years.
  • Make It Harder on Yourself – When you’re experienced, it’s a lot easier to know what all the steps are on a project, along with all the necessary resources. Push yourself to perform differently by consciously and dramatically reducing resources available for a project. Shorten the time, reduce the size of the team deployed on it, or rule out use of certain tools you’d usually fall back on for routine success. With a different resource set, you’re going to have to think of innovative strategies to get an effort completed.
  • Change Something in a Big Way – Redefine or remove steps from a well-worn business process. Reorder the sequence of some process steps you’d usually do (i.e. prototype an outcome several steps earlier than you typically would to allow others to interact with and modify an earlier deliverable). Instead of doing familiar things yourself, delegate major parts (or the entire effort) to others on your team. Give them clear freedom to change what’s been done in the past with accountability only for the end result, not to how all the intermediate steps are performed.

Each of these strategies work much like what happens when a fitness trainer causes you to be off balance while you train. Having to modify how you handle yourself physically to move a weight works your muscles in different ways.

Using the three strategies above will similarly force you to develop new professional and intellectual muscles to strengthen you, your team, and your ability to look at things in new ways despite all your experience. – Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement.  To learn how we can structure an innovative strategy to keep you ahead of your customers, email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320.

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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7 Responses to “3 Ways to Generate Innovative Business Ideas When You’re Very Experienced”

  1. These 3 Steps are GREAT! Business leaders now know that being CREATIVE is vital to the success of their business. I work with business leaders to get them “Creatively Fit”. We use “creativity workouts” to get our mental muscle better at looking at things from a different perspective, taking new action, harnessing more mental potential, operating outside of the box, and defying logistics to achieve radical business goals. Thank YOU for what you do! Whitney

    • Mike Brown says:

      Thanks for stopping by Whitney! I really like the integration of perspective and action in what you’re doing. Great ideas achieve greatness through doing something with them.

  2. Great post. I would add an additional tip – Stop being the Devil’s Advocate. Say yes first a few times and see what it feels like.

    • Mike Brown says:

      Nice addition Jim! Consciously avoiding “no” is an interesting process change to enforce on yourself.

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