Don't 'blue sky' innovation

Too often when businesses are looking for innovative ideas they ‘blue sky’.

Idea generating sessions often start with: 'If you had all of the resources in the world to solve this problem, how would you do it? If anything was possible what would this look like?'

So you’re set up for failure from the start. Your field of vision is far too wide It’s hard - almost impossible, to focus when options are infinite. Even if you did generate some great ideas the constraints of reality would eventually prevent them from ever seeing the light of day.

Rather than with a blank canvas start with the constraints. Constraints breed innovation because they force focus.

I could blue-sky my next vacation. That will likely include a 5* hotel in an exotic destination, reservations at the finest restaurants and a full  itinerary of headline entertainment. Then I would be shocked into the reality of my budget and realize that the only part of the blue-sky vacation that I could actually afford was one of the restaurants - and only if it were transplanted within a 50 mile radius of my house.

Alternately, I could start with a constrained budget.  I could book a campground in a new and interesting locale and research local food markets where I could feed the family for a week. As long as it had a pool I would consider everyone entertained.

There wouldn’t be too much re-usable from blue-sky to reality. I could however build on my fully constrained vacation by opening up the purse strings; perhaps add a dinner out, an upgraded site, or a day at the local amusement park.

You can always add to a fully constrained scenario. More difficult to reduce the shade of a bright blue sky.