“I imagine that yes is the only living thing.” -E.E. Cummings
No. No is a powerful word; Maybe one of the most powerful. Yes, on the other hand, is permissive with unpredictable results and often entails risk. When an idea, or thought or glimmer of a thought is met with “No”, from those with the authority to stop any progress, innovation is killed. Never has an idea that died become a tangible reality. Innovation is like life, it must be alive.
Living Innovation connotes two meanings. The first; One can live in a manner that promotes innovation thus one is said to be “Living Innovation” in the manner one might say living large. The second is breathing life into an Innovation Process and is therefore similar to the earlier statement that Innovation must be alive. Thus Living Innovation can also mean an innovation process that is living like one might use the term living entity.
Both connotations serve the purpose of this entry, because the individuals that innovate and the process by which they do it must be excited and lively and fluid. Our people Live Innovation and our process is equally alive – vibrant in fact!
An immediate “No” has no place in innovation.
This does not mean all ideas are given equal merit or pursued with equal vigor, but it does mean that ideas are given a threshing-out to see if others on the team can take that idea and grow it into something more viable or alive.
At Therafin Innovation we try to say yes, or at least not say no! We may place something on hold or give it less attention but keeping ideas active until they are obviously stalled helps bring about better ideas. We foster that by listening. Listening is one of our core values and we
“hear” things in all manner of places.
We have innovators reach out to us at Idea@therafin.com. We have others that we meet while babysitting (yes one of our younger engineers was a babysitter!) which eventually led to the development of a US manufacturer of Boccia products! (The only one by the way). Others we may meet at a trade show or still others that just sweat all over their car seat and need a solution!
We take all these thoughts and ideate quickly and then move to prototype as fast as we can. In six months we have made a Boccia ramp for production, prototyped a second model – twice! Invented a table top game, and prototyped it. We made a solution for that sweaty seat come to life in several prototypes. We created a Boccia stool, a Boccia release device and helmet for those with quadriplegia, a positioning strap for the disabled, and many others.
“With a little bit of imagination, anything is possible.” -MacGyver
So our process looks like this: Listen, Ideate, Prototype. As the prototype evolves i t gets more serious engineering time and then we evaluate the market – either directly or through evidence to make the big determination. Move forward or stall. (We still try not to say no).
If it gets a yes then we throw it against the wall like spaghetti and put it through our whole development process (Therafin Innovation’s Design Process) Important here is a difference between a Development process and Innovation. Innovation is an incubator, a development process is the systematic method of bringing an idea to market.
An idea is only a part of Innovation, it needs activity to move forward. Many don’t know how to move forward or lack the skills required to put the idea through an innovation process or even to make a prototype. These are things that we know and we may be able to help. Even if we can’t directly help we can often help indirectly, and can steer an innovator in a new direction. But you must keep life in your idea and not let it die! So keep your ideas alive and reach out to us – we just may breathe more life into it!