Fresh Thinking

Innovation

Innovation Principle #4: Present a Challenge

June 6, 2017

From Elon Musk’s Hyperloop competition to reality TV shows like Shark Tank to the spaceflight challenge from XPRIZE foundation, challenges are utilized to spur innovation. Using challenges is an effective framework that leads to innovation because they are exciting to people, they spur motivation to drive to results, and they are often tied to solving problems, one of the driving ingredients for breakthrough innovation.  Bringing a challenge or competition framework into your team or organization can help pull your team into innovation, and break away from solely the day-to-day operations.

Challenges are Exciting

Challenges are great tools for innovation. The psychological association of participating in or solving a challenge is exciting alone. That’s because, much like a contest or competition, a challenge typically has a clearly defined problem or goal, a set end date, and team involvement; plus, there is often a reward. With this structure, there is inherent motivation to win and tackle the task at hand. Setting forth a challenge often carries a standard for which results can be evaluated. Whereas nebulous requests, tasks, or project that target innovation are harder to get done.

Challenges Spur Motivation

Presenting problem-solving as a group challenge will energize your quest for innovation. Challenges inspire teams to push the boundaries of their potential. For example, in 1961, NASA received the challenge to reach the moon by the end of the decade. In Kennedy’s famous speech, he said, “We chose to go to the moon in this decade …because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills; because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.”

challenge to motivate

This challenge included a clearly defined goal and a high-profile competitor, the Cosmonauts. Both pushed America to prevail, and a diverse array of new technologies was invented in the process.

Challenges Solve Problems

Most visionaries will tell you that they didn’t set out to be innovators, they set out to solve a problem. Bill Gates is a fantastic example of someone dedicated to solving challenges. His 180-degree U-turn from the private sector to global philanthropy is impressive, but not his most admirable quality. It’s most notable that his philosophy across careers has remained consistent: to solve complex and seemingly impossible challenges. He first solved complicated business challenges resulting in technical innovation. Now, he solves even more complex challenges to create social innovation. He continues to solve challenges. When you think about it, it’s a liberating, exciting, not to mention and effective framework for the innovation mindset.

Founder and CEO of Fresh Consulting, student of all things creative, innovative, and fresh, professional snowboard instructor trainer, father.

You might also like...

18

May.

What Pantone’s Color of the Year Means to Fresh

As the year rolls into May, the flowers are already blooming. Looking at the right field, you’ll see shades of purple abound. It’s timely that today we reflect on Ultra Violet, Pantone’s Color of the Year, and what it means to our work as creatives. The Pantone Color Institute proposes that “Complex and contemplative, Ultra … Continued

27

Mar.

Innovation Principle #9: Keep It Open

Everyone Has the Potential to Innovate Responsibility for innovation doesn’t rest with one person or even one group of people. When innovation is part of your culture, everyone is creative and responsible, and everyone holds potential. Fresh ideas can come to anyone. In an organization that fosters innovation, the best ideas rise to the top, … Continued

8

Mar.

Fresh Hosts Angular Seattle Meetup

Developed by Google, Angular has become one of the top frameworks for building front-end web applications. It is also used for mobile and even desktop and has gained a lot of popularity from which communities of JavaScript developers have emerged. One of these groups is Angular Seattle, who aims to create four or more meetups … Continued

Pacific Science Center

application maintenance and development

Pacific Science Center

Cisco

mobile development

Cisco

Deloitte

web design, microsite development

Deloitte

Seattle Public Library

ui/ux design, microsite development

Seattle Public Library