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Innovation and Brainstorming: Do Not Think About Hamburgers

“Do Not Think About Hamburgers

And Other Essential Tips on Product Innovation

By Jeffrey Baumgartner

For the next 60 seconds do not think about hamburgers!

This is virtually impossible. By instructing your mind not to think about hamburgers, you inevitably think about hamburgers. The same thing happens when you think about improving upon a product: you inevitably think about the product which limits your ability to see the possibilities. If you are an expert in the product — as you most likely are if your company makes the product in question — it is harder still to see possibilities. Your mind’s image is fixed on the product and competitors’ similar products. Incidentally, using crowdsourcing is unlikely to help matters. Insisting that 10,000 people do not think about hamburgers simply leads 10,000 people to think about hamburgers.

Sadly, most product innovation starts with a brainstorm (or other creative thinking activity) on the challenge of “How might we improve our hamburgers?” The result, of course, is very hamburger-ish ideas: more ketchup, less ketchup, flavourings in the beef and so on. As a result, product innovation all too often is a matter of boring, incremental improvements.

It does not need to be like this. You can be much more innovative about new products. You simply need to change the way you think about hamburgers.”


Posted on: December 26, 2014, 6:58 am Category: Uncategorized

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