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The drive to invent that Bill Hewlett and David Packard shared when they launched HP in a garage decades ago is critical to organizations today. As we shift from a knowledge-based economy to a creative economy, innovation-driven companies will be the leaders. Fortunately, says Phil McKinney, creativity is a skill that can be practiced and learned, and he shares his “FIRE + PO” process for tapping human ingenuity.
FIRE is a four-step process for bringing creative ideas to life. Focus on what you’re going to pursue rather than wait for inspiration to strike. Ideate by brainstorming and asking the “killer questions.” Rank ideas to ensure they meet specific goals of the organization. Execute on the ideas with a staged rollout for validation. PO, or perspective and observation, bring the big picture to the process. When we broaden our perspective by knocking down ingrained blinders, and get in the field to directly observe problems or opportunities, truly creative ideas emerge.
Phil McKinney, VP and CTO of HP’s Personal Systems Group, oversees long-range technical strategy and research and development. He is also general manager of the group’s gaming business unit.