Innovation is often something we think we have or not. That is not true ! Innovation is a skill, and like everything it can be learn and train. There are different games you can do in order to improve your creativity.
I will suggest you to read the excellent book of Todd Henry, The accidental creative (http://www.accidentalcreative.com/book/). He define a framework called FRESH, for Focus, Relationship, Energy, Stimuli, and finally Hour. As Todd write in his book, you should set time apart, once a week in order to play with your creativity. But I think, it should become a practice of every day.
The most common game you can play is the simplest one but not the easiest. Let’s call it “Link it”. In this game, you need to be curious of everything, that is a general mantra in innovation. This game consists by linking think you like together. This allow you to create everything and the most crazy think. Imagine you like beer, and you like cats : How can you link it ? You see, it’s simple but not easy. You must always be aware of what you can link and what you can create.
The other one I like it’s “What if…”. In this game you can revolution the world. What if my coffee machine can be easier to wash ? What if instead of touching my phone screen I can talk to it ? Let’s create Nescafe and Siri :D.
Maybe you are already comfortable with the 5 whys. But if not, 5 whys is used in problem solving. It’s a technic of asking a first why. When you find the response, challenge it again with a why. Keep going until you reach level 5. Generally this is the root of your problem. it’s commonly name root cause analysis. You can play this but with innovation focus. You can alternate with “Why not?”.
The next one is close to your ability to watch the world. Train yourself to observe what could be done better, what’s not working properly and find a solution. Let’s call this game, “Solve it”. There is for sure , many things coming to your mind. Think about the last time something drive you crazy, solve it !
Finally, business innovation is often at the intersection of two things/thinks. Find these intersections, innovate !
Mind map is a tool I over use since I discover it, and I will encourage you to give it a try seriously. Buy a book from Tony Buzan, I will suggest this one, few big piece of paper, felt pens. You should learn about mind map and play a game with your new mind map set. Give you 10 minutes to find what you can do with matching two things together. Set up a base object, and take a list of items. Go! you have 10 minutes to find the best match. You will be surprise by the power of mind map for sure.
So free you mind, free you innovation, free you business 😉