Cartoon: "It's innovation time"

Five Minute Innovation

You are most likely familiar 80/20 innovation in which companies allow, or even encourage, their employees to spend 80% of their time on core business projects and 20% of their time on their own, pet creative projects. The idea is that by giving employees temporary freedom from the usual innovation-dampening business constrictions, some employees will come up with incredible innovations that would not otherwise see the light of day. This concept apparently originated at Google. In fact, there are questions about the effectiveness of 80/20 innovation and apparently Google has largely dropped the policy.

So, I have another suggestion, based on behavioural psychology. Better still, it requires far less time than 80/20 innovation. I want you to spend just five minutes on innovation today − that's right, just five minutes. 

You've Already Got Creative Ideas

The truth is, as a creative person, you undoubtedly already have creative ideas that could be applied to your business, don't you? However, you have probably not done much in the way of implementing those ideas, especially the wilder ideas. This is understandable. You and I both know that a really creative idea is risky, hard to implement and likely to meet with a lot of resistance from colleagues who are fearful of the change your idea might bring. All in all, it is easier and safer to keep the idea to yourself than to actually implement it.

Indeed, even if you were to decide to implement your idea, where would you start? How could you possibly find the time to get going on the idea? How could you get the budget, the approvals, the resources? You're busy enough now.  But maybe next month... or next quarter... or next year...

It's clear to see how, with an attitude like that, your most creative ideas are unlikely ever to see the light of day and that's a shame. It really is.

Five Minutes

So, as soon as you finish reading this article, I want you to spend five minutes on implementing your wildest, most creative idea. That's right. Just five minutes. Then you can move onto other tasks.

What's the Point?

You may very well be wondering what value there is in spending just five minutes on an idea that will take months to implement. You may also be wondering what the heck you could accomplish in just five minutes.

Actually, you will accomplish something phenomenal. You will have started implementing your idea. You will have made your first step on the road from creative idea to innovation. You will have made it a zillion times more likely that your idea comes to fruition and becomes reality.

Moreover, once you've spent five minutes on your idea, one of two things is likely to happen. One possibility is that once you get started, you may find it hard to stop and that five minutes turns into an hour or two. Alternatively, even if you only spend five minutes on the idea − perhaps because you only have five free minutes in your schedule − you will find it much, much easier to come back to the implementation of your idea, in the near future, and to spend more time on it. That's because your idea is no longer a dream, it is an uncompleted project that you have started. And uncompleted projects are much more compelling to work on than are intimidating ideas.

Five Minutes Starting Now

That's all there is to it. Just take out five minutes now or sometime today − whenever you can fit it into your busy schedule − and get started on that great idea of yours. No matter how busy you are, you can give that idea five minutes. So do it and tell me about it.


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Jeffrey Baumgartner
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Erps-Kwerps (near Leuven & Brussels) Belgium




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My other web projects 100s of articles, videos and cartoons on creativity - possibly useful things I have learned over the years. reflections on international living and travel. - paintings, drawings, photographs and cartoons by Jeffrey