Getting Outside the Jar: How to Infuse Outside Experts into Your Innovation Process

It’s sad but true: When it comes to how to create new products efficiently, you are probably too close to the problem. You know too much and, worse, you and your company are locked (perhaps unintentionally) into a fixed way of doing things. Bringing in outside experts—people not in your field—as you innovate will not only will give you a new perspective, but will also spark internal ideas as well.

“The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.”

—Albert Einstein

We love this Einstein quote. And there is a great saying in the South that we think pairs with it perfectly: “You can’t read the label when you are sitting inside the jar.” From our experience that saying—like Einstein’s—applies directly to your ability to innovate. If you have been with a company for more than six months, it is time you realize something: You’re stuck in the jar. The way you think about new ideas is distorted by the corporate container you find yourself working within.

Corporate culture can distort creativity without innovators realizing it. Luckily there are several telltale signs, and tips, to freshen up your perspective.

Said differently, you know too much. You know what your boss really wants. You know what your customer really wants. You know what you can actually produce and what you can’t. You know what is legally possible. You know, you know, ...

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