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At the beginning of a project, keep an open mind and ask questions to explore new ways of thinking.

Most organisations wait for outside pressures to make them innovate. But the best try to prompt themselves more systematically by keeping attuned to new trends, user demands, data and technologies.

The most powerful driver of innovation is asking questions, as this opens up a different way of thinking. Being clear about your purpose and priorities is an essential part of successfully managing innovation, but people often move too quickly to answers and solutions.

You should spend time at the beginning asking the right questions and un-picking what you find. Posing questions rather than making assertions, and keeping an open mind about your area of focus are critical in the early stages of innovation.

Innovation involves a combination of expansive, creative phases followed by periods of consolidation, planning and execution. Moving between these different phases is one of the main features of successful innovation.

There isn’t one way of getting it right. You know your organisation – its context, capabilities and priorities – and you’ll need to make a series of judgements that reflect your current position and where you think you need to be. This will involve thinking about your culture, processes and structure. You’ll also need to think about creating the time and space to be creative.