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The Single Greatest Way To Discover Innovation

Warning: I have no scientific research to back up the theory I’m about to ponder, but I would love to hear your thoughts after/if you complete reading this post.

I don’t really recall the first time I discovered this, but it’s happened enough that I can’t deny the powerful tool it is.

focus When I am looking for inspiration for my writing or simply trying to connect the dots to make something whole, I fall back on a process I’ve come to call monochromatic reading. (Maybe there’s a research study on this somewhere and Nobel Prize winning psychologist who’s got an even fancier name, but that’s my term)

Here’s the idea behind this. Whenever I am trying to get inspired, original or innovative in my thoughts to add to a presentation, blog post, article, product, service or book, I spend a fair amount of time reading. No surprise there, everyone does that, but what I’ve found is that some of the best ideas come from unrelated texts – if I know how to read them.

What I do is come up with one single topic – business growth, referrals, persuasion – whatever I am trying to work on – and I pick up books that are not related to the topic and read through them quickly looking only for ideas that relate to or parallel my subject. So, if I doing a piece on business growth, I might actually find some incredibly innovative ideas in a book about how bees build colonies. (Actually nature works are some of the best) The key to this is the single or monochromatic focus while I read.

The original ideas that spring from this process are mind-blowing. If I’m ever stuck, this is one of the greatest ways to get unstuck and crystal clear about what I should write or say. The funny thing is, it doesn’t really seem to matter what the topic of the book is. When you read it with a chosen focus in mind, ideas just turn up to serve this focus. I’ve done it with fiction and non-fiction works alike. Of course this idea doesn’t apply only to books or written work. The greatest opportunity for innovation usually comes from outside your industry as well.

I share this here today because it’s something that puzzles and marvels me and it’s definitely something that can help marketers and business owners everywhere, but I would also love to get your input on this – have you experienced this phenomenon as well, let’s discuss it here? If not, give it a try and share this idea with anyone looking for inspiration.

Image credit: liber