How to be innovator for life?


Manish Shah is the former president of Midwest Law Printing in Chicago. He also worked at Intel, PwC and Motorola. He has an MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and a MS in Computer Science from Illinois Institute of Technology. He can be reached at

By Manish Shah
Tom Kelley, General Manager of the world renowned design firm IDEO, has offered five tips on how we can fill our lives with creativity.

Think like a traveler
We need to be in Vu Jade (inverse of DΓ©jΓ  vu) state of mind to be creative. In this state, we look at the world with a fresh perspective. Over a decade ago, IDEO was approached by Oral-B to develop a toothbrush for kids. During the field research, IDEO observed kids brushing their teeth. Kids have small hands and they fist the toothbrush. IDEO realized that kids needed a fat squishy toothbrush for a better grip.

Treat life as an experiment

You should be willing to take risks and fail. Say you go to a bookstore and find a 300-page book. It is risky to read this book without knowing whether you would like it or not. However, if you treat this as an experiment, you can get started and then read the rest of the book if you enjoy it. Thomas Edison was someone who treated life as an experiment. He said that he had invented over 1000 ways of how not to put the filament in a light bulb.

Have an attitude of wisdom
Find a balance between what you know and being thirsty about knowledge. Do not rest on your laurels. Confucius said that β€œto know is to know that you know nothing.”

Best Buy was not aware that the 18-30 year olds had stopped buying music from its stores because of Napster. This gap in their knowledge cost Best Buy over a billion dollars.

Use your whole brain
In order to be an effective problem solver, you should use both your left and right brain. When you are struggling with an issue, write it down in form of a question before you go to sleep. Let the tortoise mind work on it. According to neuroscience, the tortoise mind works on this question in the background and supplies you a flash of insight.

Follow your passion
There are two kinds of people β€” people who are happy and people who work for their weekends. You will be better at something if you love it. Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, devised the concept of three circles. What are you good at? What are you passionate about? How can you add value to society? At the intersection of these three circles lies your true calling. The supreme achievement in life is to blur the line between work and play.

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