1. Expose Hindering Rules and Behaviors
To unlock personal innovation start by exposing rules and behaviors that might be hindering you. Instead of concentrating on receiving the right answers, concentrate on asking the right questions. Start by outlining your “declared norms”—the ideas and rules that you follow, especially any directly connected with what you want to achieve. For example, say you are starting up a new business and you are looking to hire staff. You know exactly what qualifications they will need to have before they apply for the job.
Now try to dig deeper and highlight any “hidden norms” you might have. Using the same example as above, you might also have some ideas of what you will be looking for in the person that gets the job. It could be anything from appearance to age. This won’t be in the job requirements and you might not even realize you are thinking this way. So take time to dig a bit and see what might be lurking in your subconscious relating to what you think are the “norms” for the situation.
2. Challenge your Assumptions
Now that you have a list of declared norms, including hidden norms, try looking at them in a different light, even the opposite of what you think. If you think that a certain age range is the only one suitable for the job, have a good look at other age ranges and see if you can give it a try. Really try to be flexible here and willing to change. Of course, some of your “norms” will be perfectly legitimate and actually the best practice, but the object is to be open and examine other possibilities with an open mind. Never do anything because: “This is the way we have always done it!”