All companies want it. Very few actually get it. What does it take to come up with the next big thing in your market? Some will argue that it’s all about spouting forth as many ideas as possible and hoping for an ‘overnight miracle’. In earlier blog posts, we’ve repeatedly made the case for a structured approach and “unfuzzied” innovation processes. One highly effective way of doing this is by uniting research and creativity – and that’s exactly what we’re doing at CREAX. We asked two of our innovation engineers why it works.
Do you remember TRIZ? One of the key aspects of this “theory of inventive problem-solving” is that true innovation requires an open look at the environment, both inside and outside your organization and industry domain. After all, there’s a very big chance that somebody somewhere has already solved your problem, and they don’t have to be far away either. What if that person is the nerdy scientist right next to you, or the hip creative designer sitting just a few desks away?
At the intersection
At CREAX, we literally bring creative designers and scientists together in one room to work on projects. For example, innovation engineer Tobias has a background in industrial and bioscience engineering and is currently finalizing his PhD in aging diseases. His colleague, Louis-Philippe, is a creative product designer with experience in luxury furniture brands. “One obvious advantage is that it significantly opens up the number of angles from which a challenge or idea can be approached,” says Tobias. “But the true value happens at the intersection, when both worlds actively interact.”
“As a designer, it’s my job to come up with a lot of ideas,” Louis-Philippe explains. “But it’s scientists like Tobias who can check which – if any – of our ideas are actually feasible.” It works the other way around as well: “The scientists in the team can come across an amazing new material or product, but struggle to find useful applications for it. There, we can really use the input of someone with a more creative approach. A great example of this is our exploration into the possibilities of metal foam for Bekaert.”
Another way scientific and creative minds complement each other is in communicating concepts and ideas to other teams or individuals inside and outside the company. Tobias: “Sometimes, we need a designer to bring a concept to life and translate and visualize it into something that is tangible for the client. In other cases, when talking to engineers or other scientists, for example, it’s good to have someone with a scientific mindset to back you up.”
Wowing with science
The constant interaction between scientific and creative minds in your team can take on many forms. In the end, however, the ultimate goal is to come up with big ideas that will boost your organization, but that are scientifically substantiated as well. The really good ideas are generated at the intersection of both worlds: concrete and creative, but feasible.
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