Notebooking is Innovation Viagra

Guerilla Innovation Chapter Five

Notebooking is Innovation Viagra

What do Leonardo DaVinci, Thomas Edison, Jack Kerouac, Beatrix Potter, Madame Curie, and Twyla Tharp all have in common?

They all do Idea Notebooks. Call the behavior Notebooking. It’s not just ideas, it’s also questions, facts, observations — products of your curiosity. The big company version of Notebooking is an Idea Management System (IMS). Notebooks are the IMS for small business innovators.

You have a Jungle Business Plan in your purse or man bag. It’s a short document that forms the outline of what you are doing in your quest for innovation. It’s a guide and you’re actively working it, evolving as the landscape in front of you changes. You use creative problem solving (CPS) on the inevitable challenges that arise as you seek solutions for customers that create value. You’re using the COQ (Curiosity, Observation, and Questions) tool to explore and learn more. These are the ways of being that make up an innovator. Notice, they’re nearly all about some kind of thinking.

It’s a lot to think about. Really, it’s brain overload. This is not the time to discuss memory, but suffice to say, the untrained and unaided mind is a poor recorder.

I heard Tony Buzan* speak some time ago and he said something (many things) very interesting: The human mind, on average, has about 65,000 thoughts a day. This gives new meaning to the cliché “go with the flow” doesn’t it? For an innovator in small business a large percentage of those 65,000 thoughts are about their business, and hopefully, a large percentage of those are about innovation. What happens to all those insights, questions, and ideas? Many of them, most of them, are gone like a rare bird vanishing on the horizon, never to be seen, or thought, again.

Unless — you notebook.

I am occasionally invited to do a radio program related to creativity and innovation and the bad news about radio interviews is they are short – 5 minutes or less. I’m often asked “what’s the one thing our listeners should do to be more creative?” The answer is notebooking. If you notebook your ideas, thoughts, lists of facts, and questions, you’ll be tapping into your own genius in a more effective way — a much more effective way. Researchers think that notebooking alone can make a person twice as creatively effective.

I don’t know about you but when someone says I can double my effectiveness in anything, I’m all ears. Notebooking is Innovation Viagra. Unlike Viagra it requires work, but it’s fun, and the more you do it the better you get at it. What I’ve found most interesting over the years is the post-thought connections you make. There’s something powerful about the re-processing that happens when you review, add more ideas, and this often results in “aha’s,”connections, and solutions.

So, run, don’t walk, to your local art supply store and get yourself a notebook. You might even get two, a small one for when you are not able to carry lots of stuff with you (think romantic dinners, movies, even while jogging) and a larger one for day-to-day work.

One last thought about notebooking. It’s important to write things down and if you do a better job of it it’s a big step. However, it’s not an action step. On a daily basis you need to review your notes and then do a quick convergence and decide which things need immediate action, which go into a longer term plan (or into the Jungle Plan), and which are thoughts that need more fermentation to be good wine.

*****

The next chapter is about how to build-out ideas and move towards a complete innovation, click here for Chapter Six.

* Buzan is amazing, he invented the tool of Mind-Mapping which is well worth learning and doing.

The pre-cursor book to this online book on small business innovation (aka Guerrilla Innovation) is Jack’s Notebook, a business novel about creative problem solving.  This is a great story that blends all the concepts of Guerrilla Innovation into one fast-paced, thriller type book. Yes, Jack does Notebooking!

    5 Responses to “Notebooking is Innovation Viagra”

    1. [...] area. I’ve provided some tools for doing that — your Jungle Plan, CPS, COQ, and Notebooking – are all about setting yourself up for an amazing idea. So, if you haven’t done or [...]

    2. [...] of course, if you make a new connection, you’ll be writing it down in your Notebook [...]

    3. [...] is often an immediate answer. Or answers. So, ask the question and write down the answers in your Notebook. You might keep in mind as you answer who is the target audience for your idea. Then, rewrite or [...]

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Posted in Creative Problem Solving (CPS), Entrepreneurial, Idea Generation, Idea Management, Innovation, Jack's Notebook, Start-ups