The Four Lenses of Innovation: A power Tool for Creative Thinking


Ever wondered where big, breakthrough ideas come from? How do innovators manage to spot the opportunities for industry revolution that everyone else seems to miss?

Contrary to popular belief, innovation is not some mystical art that’s forbidden to mere mortals. The Four Lenses of Innovation thoroughly debunks this pervasive myth by delivering what we’ve long been hoping for: the news that innovation is systematic, it’s methodical, and we can all achieve it.

THINK Review

“Creativity is like a muscle. If you don’t use it, you lose it.”

If you Google “Books about Innovation,” you get more than 77,400,000 results. Most of these are mediocre titles filled with recycled ideas and insights. But a few books provide fresh points of view on applying creativity to work. “The Four Lenses of Innovation” by Rowan Gibson belongs to this select group.

The book describes four lenses – or tools – to use to embark on a process of innovation. These are based on a foundation of neuro-scientific knowledge on how the human mind works and are meant to encourage readers to recognize their own creative genius. Gibson’s “four perceptual lenses” help us to uncover insights and opportunities:

  1. Challenging Orthodoxies: Questioning deeply entrenched beliefs and assumptions, and exploring new and highly unconventional answers. Think Martin Luther, Newton, Elon Musk, Apple stores and Chipotle. Innovators are often seen as troublemakers, contrarians, heretics and rebels; their challenge of orthodoxies becomes the cradle of creativity.
  2. Harnessing Trends: Recognizing the future potential of emerging developments, and using these trends to open up new opportunities. Think Amazon Kindle, Starbucks’ mobile payments app and Waze. Innovators are not necessarily futurists, but they are imaginative and have an ability to use the power of change. As Rowan Gibson says: “Innovators tend to have a wider field of view and an amazing sharp-sightedness.”
  3. Leveraging Resources: Understanding our limitless capacity for redeploying skills and assets in new ways, combinations or contexts. Think Disney, Corning and Amazon’s expansion into numerous fields. Successful innovators develop, stretch and synthesize resources, focus on organizational creativity.
  4. Understanding Needs: Paying attention to issues and frustrations others have ignored, and experimenting with new solutions to problems. Think Dyson vacuums, Nest and Diane Hevin (women-only gyms). Based on human-centered design thinking, companies need to balance technical R&D with customer research to meet the unmet needs and frustrations that everyone else is simply ignoring?

Building on the four lenses of innovation, Gibson offers an eight-step innovation process for organizations, explaining how Archimedes, Einstein and Edison used this method to their and humankind’s advantage. The book contains 304 pages of full color illustrations, bringing the whole subject of creativity and innovation to life.

After reading “The Four lenses of Innovation,” the THINK team wanted Rowan Gibson to become an integral part of THINK 17. This book and his keynote at the conference will challenge your thinking pattern and launch you through the creative journey.

As branding expert Steve Zelle once said, “The creative process is chaos wrapped around structure and held together by a sprinkle of magic dust.”

Gather your own magic dust at THINK 17. Register now.

Buy the book at Amazon.com

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