What April Fool’s Day Teaches Us About Innovation

by Braden Kelley

What April Fool's Day Teaches Us About Innovation

April Fool’s Day was this week. Did anyone have a good prank played on them or come across a good corporate April Fool’s?

My favorite this year was from my alma mater, the University of Oregon. Go Ducks!

We try to think a little differently at the University of Oregon and specialize in helping the world run a little faster (and more comfortably), and with some of Nike’s founder behind the football team, why shouldn’t they have the world’s most advanced field, say, an LED field?

Watch the video:

The best corporate April Fool’s Day pranks are the ones that are believable and almost seem feasible.

What does this tell us as innovation professionals?

The insight is that the best corporate April Fool’s Day pranks find a resonance point, a place where the outlandish intersects with what people are ready for, what they may actually desire, and what they believe should be possible soon.

Consider asking your innovation teams to design their own April Fool’s Day prank and see where it takes you.

Ask yourself questions like these about their designs:

  1. What must be true for this to be possible?
  2. What stands in the way of this being possible?
  3. What would it take to remove the barriers that are preventing this from being possible?
  4. Are our customers truly ready for this?
  5. What would it take to prepare them for it?
  6. What capabilities do we need to build to prepare for this eventuality?
  7. Is this idea more feasible in a different context? (i.e. basketball courts instead of football fields)
  8. Etc.

One final thought…

Is there any reason why the field shown in the University of Oregon LED field video couldn’t become a reality?

Why couldn’t it be built out of some of kind of fiber optic material that maintained both the sports performance characteristics and the multi-color transmission capabilities?

Would it be easy to design such a thing? No. But it seems possible, and that’s where innovation begins…

Keep innovating!

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Braden KelleyBraden Kelley is a popular innovation speaker, builds sustainable innovation cultures, and tools for creating successful change. He is the author of the five-star book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire and the creator of the revolutionary new Change Planning Toolkit™. Follow him on Twitter (@innovate) and Linkedin.

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