How to Thrive with Innovative and Creative Ideas (Interview with Simon Banks)

In 2019, in the middle of the Covid Lockdown, Simon Banks chatted with Ticker TV.

Read on to gather some of the insights that were about using creative ideas, imagination and innovation to thrive in business at unusual times.

According to our next guest, if the last six months have shown us anything, it's that organisations and workers need to reimagine what is possible to thrive.

It's a great message. Simon Banks, welcome to Ticker.

So firstly,

How would you describe innovation and creativity?

- It's one of those things. If you look it up, there are about 250 different meanings for innovation, which I think is why we can get so confused.

And the best definition I've heard is, change which adds value, which means it's everyone's responsibility. Rather than just focusing on the end product or the piece of tech and creativity which is one of those words for so many people. I just define it as connecting the dots in different ways.

Okay. I like that, it is true. When I think of the word creativity, I think I have a pretty good definition of innovation, but creativity, it's just a weird one. Isn't it really so, what is it? Do I have it? It's a bit of a mystery really.

- Well, look, everyone's got it, because I've never seen any kid that isn't creative. We're born with it, we breathe, we walk, we talk and we create. And you've probably never heard this conversation at a barbecue, and someone goes:

“Oh, what's the matter with Dave over there?

“Oh, don't you know he's born on creative, poor thing, just leave him alone.”

We're all born creative. However, we've become conditioned that we don't have it which is a real lag on productivity.

It's a lag on innovation. It's a lag on what's possible especially when there is a very disruptive environment actually at the moment.

So let's talk about some simple ways that we can bring more innovation to our work. It's what everyone's trying to think more about at the moment. So what are your thoughts on this?

- The key is start small and keep it simple.

Don't think about launching the next Airbnb or disruptor. Just keep it small and simple, and a really good way to do it is with micro experiments.

Think about something which is maybe stuck or something which is a little bit of friction, a little bit more than it should be in your organisation.

It might be the way you handle your emails every day, it might be the amount of meetings you get stuck in or it might even be how you batch your time during the day.

And then think well, just for five days. I want to run an experiment on this and try something different.

Start small. And then at the end of the week, you've got some really good data on how that went.

And you haven't wasted a whole bunch of time or try to launch something that isn't successful. And the great news is if it worked, you keep on moving with it. If it didn't, that's all right, and you try something else.

So, keep it small and simple and don't try anything too big to start off with.

That makes sense to me. Let's talk the other side. Creativity as we touched on. How would you talk to someone in terms of becoming a little bit more creative?

- John Cleese talks about creativity isn't taught it's liberated. So really. it's just about bringing out again what we've already got.

Think of it like exercise. You might look at someone and go oh, they're so fit. Oh, they're so lucky.

They're not lucky. All they do is actually just exercise a little bit more.

A really good way is just to be an experience seeker.

Look for new things, listen to new podcasts, read a new book, do something you wouldn't normally do. Spend a little bit of time out of your comfort zone.

Exercise is a great way because it makes us think a little bit differently, and our brain releases those feel-good neurotransmitters.

And the really good way is to do a digital detox for a weekend, so your mind has got a place to relax, and you're not always being pinged.

So, you can unwind and access some of your subconscious where a bunch of great ideas sit.

So again, they don't need to be new things but try a new hobby, cook something different, mix up your day.

There's a bunch of different things, and it's actually a lot more interesting when we take on newness in our life as well.

Great, and just finally, obviously we're looking ahead at managing the challenges of our day to day, moving forward in terms of sort of rethinking, you've got some ideas around how we can manage challenges that are obviously ahead of us.

- I think it's a good time to be really curious and think about the questions that we're asking.

At the moment, one of the things everyone is talking about returning back to work so it’s a good time to be curious about the types of questions we are asking.

The question of:

“How do we get people up to work quickly when we've only got two people in the lift at a time?” might be a question around logistics.

Another way might be to look at that question may be:

“How do we actually make people feel safe and valued when they're coming back into the office?”

which is really a question about happiness.

Another question about returning to work may be:

“How do we keep people apart in the office?” which is a question of space.

Where if we're a little bit more curious and think a little bit differently?

The question may be:

“How do we keep people together?”

Which is a question around connection and humanness rather than that sort of logistical space type question.

So be really curious and constantly ask why.

So I've been enjoying the chat. Where can we jump online? I know you're a speaker, author, doing all sorts of things. Where can we head to touch base?

- You can jump to simonbanks.com.au

and my book A Thousand Little Light Bulbs, how to kick start a culture of Innovation in your Organisation, is where all good books are on Amazon and all other places we expect to buy them as well.

Great stuff. We'll talk again soon, Simon. Take care.

Would you like to know more about being curious, asking great questions and solving big problems in your organisaiton?