7 ways to innovate (without the innovation clichés)

Todd Sampson, television personality and non–executive chairman of advertising agency Leo Burnett Australia

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Train your brain, confront your worst fears, have some fun – and you could join the ranks of innovation leaders.

Innovation is widely regarded as the antidote to inefficiency. If we could just be innovative, we’d have more time, more money and a sharper competitive edge. It’s a popular word within the workplace – but how can you get past the word and put “innovation” into action?

Below are some bright innovation ideas put forward by seven smart thinkers who appeared at CPA Congress 2015.

1. Retrain your brain

Is your company stuck in its old ways of thinking? It’s time for a shake-up. Todd Sampson, advertising guru, co-host of the ABC show Gruen and host of ABC science documentary series Redesign My Brain, claims that with the right training, conditioning and experiences, we can turn our ordinary brains to into “super-brains” that are more capable of innovative thinking.

  • Under the guidance of the world’s top scientists, Sampson trained his brain to achieve improved cognition, enhanced creativity and a stronger connection between mind and body. He climbed a sheer Utah rock face blindfolded to test his mental flexibility when one of his five senses was withdrawn.
  • Applying mental imagery, he escaped padlocked chains underwater to improve his memory.
  • He walked a tightrope 21 storeys above the ground through the assistance of rigorous meditation.
Such death-defying feats are not required outside television land, notes Sampson. He says adequate sleep, for example, is essential to improving memory.

“Without sleep, tests show your IQ can drop by 20 per cent.” He adds that focus can be improved by working in 20-minute chunks without interruptions. Sampson also says multi-tasking is a fallacy.

“Only 2 per cent of the population has the unique ability to process two rich inputs at the same time.”

Finally, the practice of mindful meditation using measured breathing can help sharpen focus.

“The difference between an ordinary brain and an extraordinary one is all within our grasp,” he says.

“You just have to reach for it.”