1. Observation. Keeps you close to the source and helps accurately identify the white space that exists in the market - the problems people want solutions to, but may not even know it yet.
2. Imagination. The unique ability of the human mind and spirit to envision possibilities as yet unimagined and unrealized. Imagination is an intuitive process that generates ideas.
3. Creativity. Using originality to defy habit; defying convention to achieve greatness. Creativity channels imagination and begins to propel ideas on their road to realization. This one is not as easy as it looks. Everyone thinks they're creative, but few really can step outside the box of convention.
4. Great design. Here's where Target stands head and shoulders above the other mass merchandisers. Great design has inherent beauty, but it also delivers a fun experience and must always be functional. it's the practical side of innovation as well as the aesthetic.
5. Simplicity. The challenge of innovation is to approach highly complex problems in the simplest fashion. Not every innovation requires a radical paradigm shift; big leaps have come from very simple ideas. Further to this point - think about it - few of the things that have become timeless - cultural icons, works of art, architecture, etc. - are complex. That's why my approach to advertising creative has always been - the simpler the better. And why Mr. Ogilvy said "K.I.S.S."
6. Speed. Businesses must be able to turn on a dime, like never before, to react to ever-changing market trends. Consumers - they are a demanding bunch. They know what they want. They want it now.
7. Collaboration. Innovation is a team sport. One person might have a brilliant idea, but it takes a whole team to distill and execute it. Collaboration is the process that distills wild ideas into marketable innovations.
Thanks to Michael Alexin of Target and Biz941 magazine for featuring this in their April issue.