Discussing how innovators think differently

The Innovator’s DNA

Journal Assignment

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Chapter 2: Associating

This week’s chapter continues discussing how innovators think differently through their ability to connect the dots between seemingly disparate situations, information, and ideas. The authors call this skill Associating, and state that creativity often comes when we give ourselves the space for allowing ideas to simmer and bloom. “The best innovators generally know their safe places and times for generating new ideas” (pg. 59). A few things to consider: Where/when do you get new ideas? How does that process happen? Do you have a safe space and/or time of day for generating new ideas? Speaking personally, I will share that my ideas often come when I go out for walks, and especially when it’s sunny outside (and when I say “ideas” I am referring to new ideas or ways to solve existing problems I am facing).

The end of this chapter outlines five tips/exercises aimed at strengthening your capacity to think differently and weave together unexpected connections across ideas:

  • Force new associations
  • Take on the persona of a different company
  • Generate metaphors and analogies
  • Build your own curiosity box
  • SCAMPER

Here is your journal task this week: Choose one thing from the aforementioned list to explore that is most relevant or interesting to you (your selection will probably be from the first four in the list as the SCAMPER method is more a tip than an exercise, as laid out in the book). You must select at least one, although you may select more if you want. Refer back to the book and document your process and ideas in your journal this week, as well as your outcomes. This assignment may last more than one week; you may return to it periodically throughout the semester as your outcome(s) may not be immediate. Discuss what you learned about yourself or the world around you, and what your outcome(s) is/are.

Tip: You can refer to Appendix C (pages 263-264) for additional ideas on Associating skills.

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