... do they exist?
I get some of my best ideas when I am not trying to get one, while not at my desk, during a casual walk. One probably does not innovate on 25th Avenue, at 3:00 p.m. Sometimes, the harder one tries to sleep, more difficult it becomes, same with ideas.
However, on a broader level, if one does not have an innovation agenda, innovation probably doesn’t happen. So it is a good idea to create a placeholder for innovation, meet to take stock; meet to elaborate the ideas.
Time boxing does not help in innovating; however the other extreme - time pressure gets amazing output, sometimes!
Focus groups, Innovation councils, R&D teams, Centre of Excellences, apart from doing innovation are better suited for doing equally important tasks of managing innovation. They are better equipped to provide the anchor for an organization’s innovation agenda, anchor for ideas from across the organization and optionally from outside the organization.
There is no such thing as idea team, there shouldn’t be.
Six Thinking Hats, or TRIZ are great techniques to ideate and innovate, however I believe that if one has a Six Thinking Hats or TRIZ mindset then it is far more productive than having a round table discussion for innovation using these techniques.
I read that some people are successful in submitting their problems to their mind, sleeping over it, and the subconscious mind coming up with clues, if not the solution the next morning.
I believe in something similar – our minds have an incredible capability in parallel imagination for the problems we have at hand. Leverage this, submit the problem to yourself, don’t start working on it.
Organizations should have capability to manage ideas and innovations just like an ERP manages inventory or General Ledger.
Don’t ignore non-techniques like gut feeling and intuition.
One old fashioned thing, record your ideas, however stupid or great. Instead of remembering idea, sometimes I only remember that I had a good one!
In a nutshell … ideas during after hours, at a lab, in the bathroom or on a treadmill … Innovation teams more as an anchor across and beyond organization … Innovation techniques with processes diluted … is probably the best time, team and technique for the innovation.