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The Four Lenses of Innovation: Creativity

Unpacking The Creative Mind

Author of The Four Lenses of Innovation, Rowan Gibson, sought to unpack the minds of some of the greatest inventors in the world to discover what exactly is the key to innovation? Applying this knowledge to our work, today we will explore how we can use the four lenses to improve our research skills and find out Rowan Gibson’s theory about the creative process. Read on if you want to improve your creative mind!

What exactly is a creative genius?

It is often believed that the next ‘Einstein’ will come forward as a child prodigy, or the next world-famous painter will start working from the canvas by the age of two. In reality, creativity does not work this way but we have long held this assumption since ancient times.

“The Sumerians, who are credited with a large number of technological and social innovations at the very beginning of human history, believed that the many creative achievements of their civilization were not due to their own efforts, but rather were gifts from the gods.” Page 2, The Four Lenses of Innovation, 2015.

The fact is the majority of disruptors in the creative industry follow the same pattern. They have a passion for the subject, receive formal training and then go on to innovate once they are established in the working world. Some of the greatest influencers in graphic design have followed this route and at the Strohacker Design School, we firmly believe creativity can be taught. Many of our students have graduated to go on and bring a unique creative flair to their jobs and we are often complimented on how commercially prepared our students are.

As previously covered in our article How To Overcome Creative Block, there are many ways you can work through a creative problem to find the best solution. Perhaps you have received a brief to design a magazine advert from your client. You are given an outline of the copy for the advert, the target audience, the publication placement… but the rest is up to you. How can you design a full-page spread that will appeal to your audience and make your client stand out from the rest?

Research Techniques

Every project starts with research and Rowan Gibson draws parallels between famous innovators and their ability to find solutions to problems that other people have not seen. The four lenses of innovation is a tool that can be used to research a creative problem to discover an innovative solution. 

“A tool that enables us to deliberately look at the world through different perceptual lenses, revealing inspiring insights and exciting opportunities for innovation that we otherwise would never have seen.” Page 84, The Four Lenses of Innovation, 2015.

His methodology covers four areas: 

  • Challenging Orthodoxies

The ability to challenge conventional wisdom about how things are done.

  • Harnessing Trends

A keen awareness of what is changing in the world.

  • Leveraging Resources

An alternative way of viewing skills and assets.

  • Understanding Needs 

A deep understanding of unmet needs.

Now, let’s use the four lenses to find an innovative solution to our advertisement brief. Let’s say our client wants the advert featured in a trade show magazine with the purpose to get more people to their stand. We can incorporate a QR code in our design that has to be scanned at the stand, with the incentive of an exciting giveaway. After testing the idea with the team – they love it. We have challenged the orthodox, harnessed trends, and leveraged resources by understanding their needs. 

How to build a breakthrough

Rowan Gibson also studies the creative process of famous innovators and uncovers an 8-step pattern that the majority of case studies follow:

  1. Frame a specific challenge and focus on solving it.
  2. Research the subject. Learn from the work of others.
  3. Immerse yourself in the problem. Explore possible solutions.
  4. Reach a roadblock. Feel the creative frustration.
  5. Relax. Detach from the problem. Let it incubate in the unconscious mind.
  6. Come to an illuminating insight that fundamentally shifts your perspective.
  7. Build the insight (or insights) into a big idea – a new combination of thoughts.
  8. Test and validate the new idea – try to make it work.

Knowing how to harness creativity and use it to your advantage is an important skill to learn if you want to become a successful designer. Find out more about how our graphic design course can make you job-ready in just three months today.

At Strohacker Design school you can learn graphic design in just three months.

95% of our students go on to find long term creative employment, so what are you waiting for?

Be Job Ready!

Find out more about our online graphic design coursepart-time or full-time courses today.

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