Acting innovatively Section: SDL 1
The purpose of the learning is for you to develop your own learning. There are a number of tasks that you should complete before you undertake the next section. You can work through this section at your own pace. It is expected that you would take up to 3 hours to complete this section. You must complete this section before you move to the next section.
Read the article “Generating Ideas Activity”.
This introduces the activity.
Generating Ideas Activity
In this activity ideally you should find at least one other person to participate, although the activity can be done alone. To complete this task you need several large sheets of paper and markers of at least 4 different colours.
To start the activity there are a number of things that you should encourage and discourage when working with idea generation tools such as mind maps and problem reversal. While it is good to encourage as much input as possible to avoid losing control some rules are needed. You and the others taking part need to engage in the process and be willing to participate with a view of finding a solution. At the start of this process quantity is important; quality comes later. There is a good reason for this. If you limit the pool of ideas then you have less choice when looking for solutions, whereas a large pool of ideas, even if some are inappropriate, gives you a greater choice. You need to document everything you possible can. This is because of the way our memory works. If you forget something then that something is gone and you cannot retrieve it. We often self-censor our thoughts; you need to find a way to not do this. Every idea is a good idea; it is the implementation of that idea that determines its success or failure.
While it is necessary to criticise ideas, the idea generation stage is not the time to do this. Once all the ideas have been collected then you can begin to assess them and determine which are appropriate. You need to resist the temptation to rely on experts within the group, or if there is a manager present resist deferring to them. Political correctness and telling people what they want to hear does not lead to innovative solutions. Democracy is not necessarily a help when generating ideas. Spontaneity is necessary as you build a pool of ideas. Ideas are just that, ideas, they are not solutions. Ideas only become solutions when the idea is applied. So, you need avoid analysing the ideas too early. If you do there is a risk that you end up wandering down an ever narrowing path.
In this activity you are going to be given a number of problems that need solutions. Each of the problems is an actual problem that we have worked with small businesses to solve. With each problem you need to apply two or more ideas generation techniques. You need to choose which techniques you want to use and then apply them to the problem. What you will learn is that some techniques are better suited to certain problems. Not every technique works for every problem. You need to write what you have learnt in your workbook. For each problem you may have to make some assumptions but you cannot change the problem. And remember you are looking for ideas and not solutions!
You run a small online business selling small items that fit in an envelope. Previous you ran your business from a large garage in your garden. Each you would print the orders on separate sheets. The taking one order at a time you would collect the items from the shelf place them in an envelope before sealing the envelope and placing the item in the postal collection box. It took no more than 2 minutes to complete the order.
However, your business has grown and you now run your business from a large warehouse. You still print each order on separate sheets but due to the size of the warehouse it now takes 3 minutes and 30 seconds to complete each order separately. This additional 1 minute and 30 seconds means that over 15% of orders are going out a day late and you cannot catch up. Customer complaints are beginning to affect your rating online.
You run a small coffee and snack shop that has caters to the local workforce of most middle aged office workers. A new college is opening up close to your coffee shop. The number of students at this college is more than triple the number of office workers around your shop; they spend almost the same on coffee and snacks as your current customers but are much younger. You realise that you could capture this market but you would need to change the style of your shop.
You have created a small jewellery manufacturing business making necklaces and bracelets for your females between 8 and 13. The business is very profitable. However, you want to grow the business but you also don’t want to stop manufacturing the jewellery yourself. You are also not very keen on employing people as you want to keep control over the quality.
Complete the three problems using two or three different idea generation techniques. Remember you are looking for ideas not a solution.
This allows you to document your learning.
Write about your experiences in the workbook.
This allows you to document your learning.
You should undertake further reading on the topics in this section. We recommend that you read the following:
- Michanek, J. & Breiler, A. (2014) The Idea Agent, The Handbook on Creative Processes, New York: Routledge
- Claxton, G. 2000, Hare brain, tortoise mind: how intelligence increases when you think less, Ecco Press, New York. Chapters 5 and 6
- Crawford, R., P. (1964). The Techniques of Creative Thinking: How to Use your Idea to Achieve Success. Virginia, USA: Fraser Publishing Co.
The next section is Unit 2 OLL 3
Introduction to the module
Welcome to this module on innovation. The module is designed to be used either individually or within a classroom setting. The module takes a non-technical approach to innovation and looks at setting innovation within small every day businesses. It explains what innovation and isn’t and how you can develop your skills and abilities to become better business owners. You will find the module will challenge your thinking around innovation in preparation for either starting your own business or developing an existing one.
This module can be used as a standalone module on innovation or as part of the Student Business e-Academy programme on Business start-up.
Download here related workbooks before starting the course:
All workbooks in this course please submit to firstname.lastname@example.org (MDX students), email@example.com (UMA students) or firstname.lastname@example.org (UNIST students), upon finishing the assignments.
Dr. Simon Best is a Senior Lecturer at Middlesex University, with interests in micro and small business start-up and development. Simon’s first career was 15 years as a chef; this was followed by two years as a Market Researcher and then 28 years as self-employed business owner. During his time as a business owner, Simon started businesses in Australia, Papua New Guinea, India and Viet Nam. Simon has extensive networks across many countries. Currently Simon leads the Enterprise development hub – EDH@MDX as well as lecturing in Entrepreneurship and small business development.
For discussion and course related questions visit the FORUM.
- Lectures 20
- Quizzes 11
- Duration 60 hours
- Skill level All levels
- Language English
- Students 75
- Assessments Self
UNIT 1. What is innovation?
- Lecture 1.1 What is innovation? Section: OLL 1
- Quiz 1.1 Quick Quiz U1OLL1
- Lecture 1.2 What is Innovation? Section: OLL2
- Quiz 1.2 Quick Quiz U1OLL2
- Lecture 1.3 What is Innovation? Section: SDL 1
- Lecture 1.4 What is innovation? Section: OLL3
- Quiz 1.3 Quick Quiz U1OLL3
- Lecture 1.5 What is innovation? Section: SDL2
UNIT 2. Acting innovatively
- Lecture 2.1 Acting Innovatively Section: OLL1
- Quiz 2.1 Quick Quiz U2OLL1
- Lecture 2.2 Acting Innovatively Section: OLL2
- Quiz 2.2 Quick Quiz U2OLL2
- Lecture 2.3 Acting innovatively Section: SDL 1
- Lecture 2.4 Acting Innovatively Section: OLL3
- Quiz 2.3 Quick Quiz U2OLL3
- Lecture 2.5 Acting Innovatively Section: SDL 2
UNIT 3. Levels of innovation
- Lecture 3.1 Levels of Innovation Section: OLL 1
- Quiz 3.1 Quick Quiz U3OLL1
- Lecture 3.2 Levels of Innovation Section: OLL 2
- Quiz 3.2 Quick Quiz U3OLL2
- Lecture 3.3 Levels of Innovation Section: SDL 1
- Lecture 3.4 Levels of Innovation Section: OLL 3
- Quiz 3.3 Quick Quiz U3 OLL3
- Lecture 3.5 Levels of Innovation Section: SDL 2
UNIT 4. Managing innovation
- Lecture 4.1 Managing Innovation Section: OLL 1
- Quiz 4.1 Quick Quiz Unit 4 OLL 1
- Lecture 4.2 Managing Innovation Section: OLL 2
- Lecture 4.3 Managing Innovation Section: SDL 1
- Lecture 4.4 Managing Innovation Section: OLL 3
- Quiz 4.2 Quick Quiz Unit 4 OLL 3
- Lecture 4.5 Managing Innovation Section: SDL 2