- The Stratengy Team
Spark Your Flame of Innovation
Updated: Mar 7
If you are or ever have been feeling a lack of creativity or innovation in your life and business, let’s look at how you can spark the flame of innovation.
We’ll do so in the form of sharing a story of Thomas Thwaites as shared by James Clear:
“In 2010, Thomas Thwaites decided he wanted to build a toaster from scratch. He walked into a shop, purchased the cheapest toaster he could find, and promptly went home and broke it down piece by piece.
Thwaites had assumed the toaster would be a relatively simple machine. By the time he was finished deconstructing it, however, there were more than 400 components laid out on his floor. The toaster contained over 100 different materials with three of the primary ones being plastic, nickel, and steel.
He decided to create the steel components first. After discovering that iron ore was required to make steel, Thwaites called up an iron mine in his region and asked if they would let him use some for the project.
Surprisingly, they agreed. The victory was short-lived.
When it came time to create the plastic case for his toaster, Thwaites realized he would need crude oil to make the plastic. This time, he called up an oil company and asked if they would fly him out to an oil rig and lend him some oil for the project. They immediately refused. It seems this oil company wasn’t nearly as generous as iron mines.
Thwaites had to settle for collecting plastic scraps and melting them into the shape of his toaster case. This is not as easy as it sounds. The homemade toaster ended up looking more like a melted cake than a kitchen appliance.
This pattern continued for the entire span of The Toaster Project. It was nearly impossible to move forward without the help of some previous process. To create the nickel components, for example, he had to resort to melting old coins. He would later say, “I realized that if you started absolutely from scratch you could easily spend your life making a toaster.”
The moral of this story is: starting from scratch is usually a bad idea.
Innovation is the ability to take an already existing idea and make it better, easier, or more affordable for more people.
As a leader in today’s world, creating a culture of innovation means people must feel safe enough to share their ideas without fear of being shut down. BDC shares its 5 Steps to Improve How to Generate New Innovative Ideas.
Companies that have led with innovation by taking something already existing and improving upon it, who comes to mind?
McDonald's created a fast food revolution
Netflix changed the movie-watching industry
Apple changed the world through technology
Walmart changed distribution
Amazon changed how people shop
What does your company do better than anyone else? How do you serve your customers better than your competition? What problem can you help consumers solve?
“Innovation is taking two things that exist and putting them together in a new way.” - Tom Freston (born 1945), co-Founder of MTV.
Stratengy is here to help you navigate being a great leader in today’s world. Stratengy runs six-month programs on how to transform your team. We help you improve your collaborative teamwork. We incorporate the Disc Assessment and the Five Behaviors Assessment. Reach out to us today to learn how we can help you and your team be more engaged, collaborative, and productive.