If you want to innovate and come up with fantastic ideas, you probably have a notion of how to go about it. Firstly, you need the best innovation management software available, which is certainly true. But you probably also think that you need to create an environment that is completely free from distractions in which people can focus solely on coming up with ideas. If that is what you think, then you are wrong. Think back to any good idea that you have ever had. Did that come about by thinking long and hard, or did you have the proverbial “apple on the head” moment? We have all heard of “eureka”, which enabled Isaac Newton to understand gravity. That apple was a distraction, but the distraction gave him the idea.
Distractions Are Good!
Many people think eureka moments are just moments of luck. To a degree they are, but there is some science behind them as well. In fact, scientists have looked at the effectiveness of problem-solving in different groups of people. In one group, people had to sit and think about the task and come up with the solution. The second group was told to read the task, go do something completely different and unrelated, and then complete the task when they return. What this showed was that the group that was told to have a distraction first was much better at coming up with creative ideas to solve the problem at hand.
What this tells you is that, if you are facing a big problem, you should distract yourself. Take a coffee break, browse through Facebook, or go do something that means you forget about the problem even if it is just for a few minutes. Should you be caught using Facebook at work, then you can tell your boss that scientific evidence proves that you will be more productive and efficient as a result!
Why You Need to Learn from Your Mistakes if You Are Over the Age of 12
Presuming that you are older than 12, then you need to be able to learn from your mistakes. You always believed that distractions were bad for you, but now you know that you are actually not. Some people say that, in life, there are no mistakes, there are only lessons to be learned. Similarly, there are no problems, only solutions waiting to be found. Interestingly, this is something you won’t be able to figure out until you are 12 years old! Indeed, one innovative piece of research has shown that children can only see negative feedback in one way, and that is something scary. They do not understand that, by making mistakes, they will learn not to make them again. They simply cannot take things on board.
So what is the lesson to be learned in that? Perhaps that you should not allow a child younger than 12 to join your innovation team. But mostly, it means that you need to embrace change and that distractions do more good than harm.