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If you want to innovate, try this

Think. Write. Lead.
If you want to innovate, try this
By Diego Pineda • Issue #34 • View online
Welcome to this issue of Think.Write.Lead. where I’ll teach you how to write a thought leadership piece through a proven innovation technique: being a hummingbird.
Now you are curious, right? Keep reading then.

Thought leaders are innovators.
And one way to innovate is becoming a hummingbird.
Yep. Those cute little birds.
Just like a hummingbird takes pollen from one flower to another, thought leaders take solutions from one location to another. 
They transfer solutions from one industry an apply them in another one, usually changing some elements.
Is this guy an innovator?
Is this guy an innovator?
This was the case of Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks, who was inspired by the cafes he saw in Italy and took the concept to the United States.
In fact, he began with an espresso bar called Il Giornale, with formally dressed waiters and opera music playing in the background.
Apparently, people in Seattle didn’t like that, so he switched opera for jazz and added tables and chairs for people to work while they enjoyed their coffee.
Thought leaders identify a concept that works in one place and plug it in somewhere else.
They examine why and how the concept worked originally and what things would make it work again.
Here’s a recent example of mine:
I was interested in the concept of brand evangelism and began interviewing people with the title Chief Evangelist about their work and how it relates to thought leadership.
There didn’t seem to be a clear framework for brand evangelism (most have an ad hoc approach to it). So I began looking at other fields for a framework that would work.
What about the religious origin of the concept of evangelism? That seemed like a good place to start.
And because I often read history books, I recalled something I’d read recently.
That’s how I came up with this brand new framework:
Check it out. ☝️
Then try it on your own.
This first step is about deciding your theme or topic and the field to look for a transferable solution.
In my case, the topic was brand evangelism, and the field was the history of religion.
Here you’ll have to do some research and analysis.
  • What are some concepts or topics you are passionate about and would like to explore to write original content?
  • Which of those topics have not been systematized yet or are in need of innovative points of view?
  • Which are some unrelated fields that you can explore for innovative solutions?
Bonus tip: interview practitioners of the theme you want to write about to find some common practices and trend or patters you can use to build your new framework. That’s what I did, interviewing chief evangelists.
  • Make a list of systems, methods, tactics, best practices or frameworks that worked in another field that might work in yours.
  • Then find both parallels or things in common and striking differences.
  • Finally, from your research, pick non-obvious solutions or practices (things that are not common in your own field) and write down how you would apply them to your topic.
For example, if you read the article linked above, you’ll see that I found 5 things that the first religious evangelist did that I could apply to category evangelism today.
You may already have some great ideas on how to get started with this process.
Or you may feel stumped. Maybe you don’t know much about topics outside y0ur field of interest.
But if you want to innovate, if you want to be a thought leader, you must have range.
That means being an expert in your field but a dabbler in a few others.
I offer some tips on how to do that in this post and in my book The Solo Thought Leader.
P.S. Let me know what you think of this method. Please drop me a line and tell me what you are working on.
Now, try to come up with new ideas as fast as this bird flaps its wings.
Now, try to come up with new ideas as fast as this bird flaps its wings.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Diego Pineda

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