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Eyeknowvation: How to See Your Way to Innovation

Sight happens in three ways, through your eyes, through empathy, and through your mind’s eye.  The simplest method is seeing what’s in front of your eyes. You register what it is, what it means, and what to do with it. The definition of empathetic sight could be underlined by the1 question: “Do you see what I mean?” It’s a simple question commonly asked in personal and professional conversations. 

To actually “see” what a person “means”, however, requires more effort than what most people put into their response – especially when they say “yes.”  When we see through the eyes of others, we see the world from their perspective and notice things we would have otherwise missed or misunderstood. Alternately, when you see through your mind’s eye, you pull from what you know in your memory and what you personally can imagine based on what you’re seeing with your eyes.

Combining and connecting what we see through the eyes of others, what is in front of us and within us are all essential to solving problems, thinking of viable solutions, being creative and inventive. “Eyeknowvation” is a mindset of guiding principles to become more attuned to seeing the interaction, interconnection and integration at the front end of innovation.  By learning to actively see things, situations, and ideas in new ways, you have the ability to see current and pre-existing ideas with refreshed eyes.  Eyeknowvation helps you see overlooked opportunities hidden in plain sight.

Looking vs Seeing

Leonardo da Vinci’s motto, saper vedere (knowing how to see) inspired the premise of Eyeknowvation and the importance of understanding the difference between looking and seeing.  On the surface, looking and seeing may appear interchangeable, but the essence of their definitions mark their distinctions.  Looking is a passive act involving observable elements in a frame of view.  You don’t notice everything you look at and remember even less.  Seeing is an active and conscious process of focus that registers on an optical, cognitive and intellectual level. 

Innovation and Bias

When working in a group charged with finding an innovative solution, like when brainstorming a new product concept, business process or website redesign, it’s common to let our unique way of seeing override our ability to be open-minded to the fact that others have their own distinct way of seeing as well. By seeing though the eyes of others, we broaden our perspective and bring to light potential answers that are born from the blending of multiple minds of thought.

It is important when sharing your vision to think in terms of collectively generating multiple viable alternatives instead of finding one person’s right answer.  If needed, reframe the end goal as selecting “the best of” instead of “the right…” A generative mindset opposed to a reductive frame of mind will help you create synergies, generate more creative ideas, and deliver the most innovative results.

Progressing Thru the Front End Of Innovation

By recognizing and being keenly aware of the differences between looking and seeing, from the unique individualization and variance of perceptions to shared experiences – we could modify our expectations to more effectively collaborate with colleagues and truly understand the market.

Learning how to see, using all three methods, allows us to develop more innovative solutions across any business scenario. During a web redesign, for example, it will help you understand the needs of your target market as well as how your website will provide solutions to them and increase your lead generation potential based on highly-effective and targeted web conversion points.

It is with this type of application of Eyeknowvation that truly innovative strategies happen.

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