Nurturing New Ideas

Michele Warg
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New ideas play a critical role in any sustainable business model, and it is therefore important for both managers and employees to be able to nurture and develop these ideas effectively. For employees in administrative or clerical positions, the nature of the work can make it harder to think creatively, but finding ways to do so is beneficial for both your personal development and your career.

The American Society of Administrative Professionals points out that the basic tasks of an administrative job are unlikely to really show off your skills as an innovator. Even if you always produce wonderful reports that are delivered before the deadline, doing your assigned job well is not enough to bring out your creativity. Looking outside the box at ways you can change processes or bring about improvements will really make you stand out.

New ideas are generated by immersion in a range of different experiences. If you are looking to get your creative juices flowing, it helps to get out of your comfort zone and try some new activities. Have conversations with people you might not normally talk to, and engage yourself with the world through new literature, music and problem-solving tasks. New ideas can often spring from making connections that no one else has seen, and it's easiest to make these connections when you have a wide range of experience and an active, stimulated mind.

When nurturing new ideas, people often forget to engage the power of both their conscious and unconscious minds. Part of the nurturing process is actively engaging — setting yourself the task of coming up with a number of new ideas, for example, or looking at where there is room for improvement. However, many eureka moments happen later. Setting the ball rolling through conscious thought directs your unconscious mind to churn over your experiences and new ideas, effectively increasing your processing time.

Allowing time for boredom to develop can also be an effective tool for generating ideas. In the modern era, much of our waking time is consumed by our attachment to technology, and as a result, boredom is never allowed to develop. While this is good in one sense, it can also block creative thinking. When the brain is allowed to reach a point of boredom, it is often most receptive to new ideas and creative thinking.

Business leaders have an important role to play in this process as well. A new idea is really only the front end of innovation, but success is not achieved without execution and a clear path to get there, and this is where managers can help. Many new technologies support this process, such as IdeaScale, a cloud-based innovation platform that allows ideas to be tracked from their initial seed to implementation.

For employees, the key to generating new ideas is the willingness to engage in the process both inside and outside the work environment. With the help of technology, it does not have to be a mysterious of complicated process for businesses managers either, and both parties can benefit from the successful growth of new ideas.

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