Why companies struggle with innovation
Innovation is critical in companies for short and long-term growth. However, creative thinking requires the mind to think differently than when coming up with routine or logical solutions. In fact, we use different parts of the brain for logical solutions and creative solutions. Logical solutions are generated in the frontal lobe; and creative ideas, in the superior temporal gyrus, the so-called “creative spot”.
However, although creative and logical solutions come from different parts of the brain, you don’t have automatic access to the creative region. The brain is designed such that 99% of the time your frontal lobe is switched on—that is, when you are brainstorming and generating ideas, they are almost always coming from this region and are, therefore, logical ideas.
In the workplace, most tasks require employees to be in executive mode for most of the day; consequently, on the occasions that they need to be more creative, they struggle to come up with quality creative ideas. You’ve probably experienced this yourself: have you been in Innovation Sessions where several hours have been dedicated to generating ideas but in the end all you got was logical solutions? In contrast, you have probably also come up with creative ideas when tired, bored or while relaxing, the ideas that you should have had in the innovation session.
Why does this happen? When you are bored and tired, your brain switches off the frontal lobe, allowing the creative spot to become active. For most people, the creative spot is almost always tapped into by accident. But it is possible to train your brain to switch from executive to creative mode at will. So if you want to learn how to “Flip your Switch”, carry on reading.
Before going into specific techniques, it is important to note the role that the frontal lobe plays in the build-up to creative thinking. In order to come up with creative ideas, you need to have access to information: this information enters the brain through the frontal lobe, where it is filed and logical connections are made. So even if you manage to switch to the creative part of your brain, it is of little value if you don’t have sufficient information stored in the executive brain—information of good quality, quantity and diversity.
Learn how to Flip your Switch:
There are various techniques and tools that you can use to switch your brain from executive to creative mode. Further, once you have switched to creative mode, there are many tools you can use to make the most of your creative abilities. In this blog, I will write about a different technique every week, providing links to further material. Plus, we have innovation experts who will regularly contribute to the Blog, giving you additional tools and ideas—so that you can control your brain and increase your ability to innovate quality ideas, whenever you want them.
I look forward to our Innovation journey together.