The New York Times does a very cool thing every year — they publish an amazing list of innovations about to happen –”32 Innovations That Will Change Your Tomorrow.”
Not sure which is most interesting, maybe #20, the non-hangover alcohol — now that’s innovation I can appreciate.
All kidding aside, beyond the wow factor, this list is an opportunity to do some creative “conceptual blending.” Conceptual Blending is essentially a mash-up of two very different concepts — to create something entirely new. It’s a great shortcut to breakthrough innovation, essentially you “steal” a great idea and make it your own by adapting/combining it to your industry or challenge. You can do it yourself — here’s the drill:
- Have a challenge area in mind. It could be a business problem, or something personal. This is “Concept A.”
- Pick the five innovations that that have absolutely nothing to do with your industry or personal life challenge. Mind-maps are good for this. Explore each concept visually and/or with words. Attribute lists and diagrams work. These are “Concept B”.
- Explore your own challenge in the same fashion, then, put Concepts A and B side by side. Start looking for connections — this won’t be easy or obvious.
- Review your drawings and words and ask yourself how the dis-similar concept(s) might be combined, morphed, or “one-offed” to apply to your challenge. Sometimes magic happens doing this, but if nothing comes to mind immediately, keep asking, keep noodling, keep doodling, keep thinking about it — in time something will occur to you.
Folks, this works, try it. Mash-ups are always a good idea but these 32 new innovations are especially rich as fodder for Concept B. Borrow (steal) some of the freshest thinking around and use it to solve your problem.
So, what are you waiting for? Get Mashing!