Published September 26, 2014

In today’s Wall Street Journal, there is an article about Alan Turing who believed strongly in artificial intelligence and is one of the pioneers related to understanding the power of the computer. What I found compelling about the article was it’s sub-title, “Today’s biggest innovations are coming from the combination of human inspiration and the computer-processing power”.

I find this to be undoubtedly true in today’s business environment. There are very few companies who will become wildly successful by inventing the new iPhone; instead, those who are wildly successful find ways to combine different needs and formats together. For example, there are nice-looking watches that count steps, catch you up on email, provide alarms, stream music and the like “all-in-one”. The “right” combination and re-combination of people, processes, products, services and technology yields results.

One tip to implement this week: Gather your team (or a group of your peers) together for a brainstorming session. If a key customer or supplier is dropping by for a visit, consider including them in the meeting. Introduce the power of thinking of innovation as the recombination of already-existing technologies, processes, products, packaging etc. into a compelling “new” product, service, or process.

Then, let the ideas flow. I have no doubt it will yield some type of results. Who knows; you might come up with a “winning idea”. However, even if you do not choose to implement any of the ideas, if the team understands the value of what they participated in, the worst case result will be more engaged employees and partners.