Dr Amantha Imber says that there are four easy steps you can follow to make innovation part of your standard operating procedure.
Rather than waiting for a bolt of lightning out of the blue, Amantha says that creative ideas can be shaken out of everyday situations quickly and easily. You can watch the full presentation here.
Amantha asks, "What has frustrated you recently?"
That is where you should starting digging for innovation gold.
Whether it's being stuck on hold to Centrelink for 40 minutes, being jammed into a crowded tram or struggling to navigate your way around a huge convention centre, Amantha says that this is rich territory for idea generation.
Why? Because innovation is change that adds value.
Amantha says, "People are buying solutions to problems. You don't buy a two inch drill bit. You buy a two inch hole."
She also urges business owners to talk to their customers and ask them what they find frustrating about their relationship with you.
Yes, this can seem scary. After all, opening yourself and your business up to criticism is hard but this is where opportunities to improve arise.
The next step is to turn the whole thing upside down and crush any assumptions you may have about solutions.
For example, you might assume that your customers want a cheaper service when really what they want is a faster service, or more free gifts, or they actually need something totally different that doesn't exist yet.
Whatever it is, Amantha says you shouldn't make decisions based on assumptions and you definitely shouldn't make important decisions after lunch because clear evidence suggests that we get worse at making good decisions as the day wears on.
Rather than investing a whole heap of time and money into an idea, she says it's better to ask a people if they would use it (whatever "it" is), create a really cheap, quick landing page and a contact form to see if those people try to get in touch, and do as much market research as is possible on a tiny budget. It will become clear if the idea generates energy or fizzles out.
And lastly, Amantha shares a quote from Dr Albert Szent-Gyrgyi, the scientist who discovered vitamin C: "Innovation is seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no-one else has thought."