The three most powerful words for innovation

I still remember Seth Godin's words when I saw him speak, when he said we are moving into a new era in which we are going from "perfecting the known" to "imperfectly seizing the unknown."

Think about what that mean -- "imperfectly seizing the unknown."

This is why survey after survey is talking about innovation and creativity as key skills needed by all organizations.

What do the world's most innovative organizations do that we can take back to our organizations?

This post from Warren Berger at HBR (Harvard Business Review Blog) offers a great starting place with "The Secret Phrase Top Innovators Use."

Berger talks about how innovative companies like Google, IDEO, P&G, Facebook, and others jumpstart innovation by using what we like to call a powerful question.

The secret phrase is three powerful words:

How might we ...?

Warren talks about how Tim Brown of IDEO spurs innovation:

Tim Brown, the CEO of the innovation and design firm IDEO, says that when his company takes on a design challenge of almost any type — and IDEO does everything from designing new products to envisioning new ways to deliver healthcare — it invariably starts by asking How Might We. Brown observes that within the phrase, each of those three words plays a role in spurring creative problem solving. "The 'how' part assumes there are solutions out there — it provides creative confidence," Brown said to me "'Might' says we can put ideas out there that might work or might not — either way, it's OK. And the 'we' part says we're going to do it together and build on each other's ideas."

Try this at your next meeting, How might we ...?

How might you spur innovative thinking in your organization?

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