The Daily Innovation Workout
Innovation is a muscle.
Regularly exercised, it will perform well. Ignored, it will grow soft and atrophy.
By 1934, Walt Disney had become a success in the animation industry. He’d won two Academy Awards in the Short Subject (Cartoon) category and had grown a profitable business to a staff of 200.
But it wasn’t enough.
Producing formulaic cartoon shorts was not enough. He needed to push himself — and his company — to new levels.
He launched a four-year production of a feature-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Many in the film industry predicted it would bankrupt the company. They dubbed it “Disney’s Folly.”
Disney pulled out all the stops. He wanted the film to be as realistic as possible. So he:
- Incorporated full color and sound
- Sent his animators to courses at the Chouinard Art Institute
- Brought in live animals and actors so the animators could study realistic movement
- Developed a multiplane camera technique, where multiple pieces of glass were used for drawings to create an illusion of depth
The film was three times over budget — costing $1.5 million to produce. In 1937. On the heels of the Great Depression.
But the investment in innovation was fruitful.
Snow White premiered in December 1937.
The film became the most successful motion picture of 1938 and grossed $6.5 million.
Disney won an Honorary Academy Award which consisted of one full-size and seven miniature Oscar statuettes.
Create a Habit of Innovation
Disney never rested on past successes and innovations. He never stopped innovating. He created a habit of innovation.
When you follow a Daily Innovation Workout, you create a habit of innovation. You create an environment in which innovation can thrive.
And just like a physical workout, you need to address the mind, the body, and the muscle.
The Daily Innovation Workout
- Remind yourself of your goals — Do you know what your objective is? What are you working toward? Focus your creative energy and thinking on your goals — both the long-term and the short-term goals. When you focus, you open the door to inspiration.
- Get out of your way — Remind yourself that you are innovative. A study was done by a company to find out why some employees were considered creative. Here’s what they found: The only difference between the creative people and the non-creative people is that the creative people believed they were creative. Once they believed, then they started acting creatively. That’s the only difference.
- An Innovation Exercise—Dedicate 10 minutes of off-topic imaginative thinking — creative problem solving, product mash-up brainstorming, drawing. I use one of the exercises in my free eBook, 5 Exercises That Will Make You 10 Times More Creative, to warm up my brain.
- Daily Fuel — Our brains respond in kind when they are inspired. Look at other ideas. I subscribe to Springwise’s daily email to read about new innovations. I also look at inspirational photography (like those in the Images that Ignite section of my website). I read industry news. When I come across innovation and creativity, my mind races. I capitalize on those moments.
- 30 Minutes of Physical Exercise — Even walking works wonders to clear your head. You will find — like I have — that these are the times when the ideas flow. Keep your phone handy so you can capture your ideas.
- Just start! Write something. Draw something. Tinker with something. Imagine something. My college writing professor used to say, “When you’re stuck, just write something — anything. You can always edit it later.”
- Keep an Innovation Journal — Record your ideas — even the bad ones. You have to come up with bad ideas so you can appreciate the good ones — and the work it took to come up with them. Review your Innovation Journal occasionally. It will become a new source of Daily Fuel.
Pablo Picasso said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.”
Do the Daily Innovation Workout, and let inspiration find you.
Sometimes You Need a Little Creativity Boost
My free eBook might just help:
I use these exercises to keep the juices flowing — in myself and in my clients. (I am a marketing consultant, after all.)
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