Beyond Inspiration

“15 Innovative Ways (Big and Small) To Innovate” (The Globe and Mail’s March 2013 Report on Business) looks beyond the ‘flash of inspiration’ to examine how certain companies have managed to stimulate ideas and bring them to successful fruition. Here are just three of the pointers that instantly caught my attention.

Keep asking why

  • Toyota tracked a problem with a robot to its root cause through a series of six questions and answers. A great reminder to go beyond asking the first “why” (what, who, when) of a story’s problem. Ask “why” of the answer, and then again “why” to that answer, and again… This will help define the core problem of the story and drill deeper and deeper into the characters’ motivations and actions.

No “buts”

  • Take the advice of Gert Garman of Disney: don’t waste time on all those “buts.” But this will never get accepted, but I don’t know the ending, but I have to do the laundry… Just get on with writing.

Rethink, don’t reinvent

  • I tend to reinvent when one of my stories disappears down a sinkhole. Inevitably, the new story eventually goes down much the same sinkhole. No, no, no. Better that I stay with the story and keep looking for new perspectives. Is the best pov character really the one I think it is? Is the pov character the right gender, right age? Should it really be x who is spying on y or the other way round?

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