Check out this Wall Street Journal article, Oops!, by Rob Austin, Lee Devin and Erin Sullivan — all members of Cutter’s Innovation and Enterprise Agility team. The piece is engaging from start to end, but the section “Let Innovators Collect Ideas” really drew me in. It makes me optimistic that my daughter, who keeps every scrap of paper she’s ever drawn or written on, is not a packrat; she’s an innovator-in-training!
Innovators squirrel away things they don’t know how to use. Designers and sculptors collect photos and keep warehouses or cabinets full of things they can’t use (yet). Painters and product developers keep sketchbooks. Innovators of all stripes keep “junk,” as one designer called it, against the day when, leafing through a notebook or tidying a shelf, they have an “Aha!” moment.
You can also listen to Rob talk about how managers can encourage and learn to spot valuable accidents in this interview with the Journal‘s Carol Hymowitz.