When was the last time one of your ideas that got shot down? Have you stopped presenting ideas all together because they never take root? When you don't feel safe presenting new ideas, you start to feel The Grind and it will wear you down. 

Additionally, the market research company Forrester, recently reported that A.I. will replace 6% of all U.S. jobs by 2021. With jobs in jeopardy, one of the best ways to fight A.I. & The Grind is Ideation. This problem solving technique requires an open mind, commitment, and adaptability. If you dedicate the next 90 days to enhancing your ideation skills, you can help ensure the next step in your career won't be a boring one.

But where to start, you might ask. Start with a problem. Literally any problem will do. But before we get into methodology, let's take a look at the roots of creativity: 

Time to get connected! To start, we'll need an example. Let's say at work you have too many customer request emails in your inbox.

The first step is to empathize with your customers: What motivates your customer's questions? Is there anything that they're experiencing that may lead to questions that could easily be resolved elsewhere? Look at the questions, are there any themes? 

Second, you need to define the specific steps you'll take to decrease their queries. For example, if customers continually ask the same general set of 10 questions, you could define the problem as: Should/shouldn't our company provide a chat bot FAQ to answer those common questions.

The third step is the act of Ideation. Sit down by yourself or better yet, with a small team of peers and brainstorm all the different ways you could make a chat bot feasible. Where are the budget gaps you could leverage? How much would it actually cost to implement? How much time could you save? How much additional business could you generate?

The fourth step of prototyping is crucial. This step is where the rubber meets the road. Build a demo of your plan; in our example research all the free/low-cost methods of building a bot, and how it could position products to customers. Be mindful of costs, and even more-so of potential revenues!

The fifth and final step is to test your hypothesis. Take your idea on the road. Try it out in your local market to limit costs, and showcase your innovation. If the idea fails at this point, your efforts in trying something new will be recognized. If your idea succeeds, you'll have a resume builder for your next promotion.  

Try and fit this plan into a 90 day window for impact. Because you're outside normal duties, the partnerships you forge along the way are what may make or break your idea's implementation. If you want to learn more from here, Udemy (an online learning center) has some great courses here

By networking, breaking out of your bubble, building new relationships, and trying new endeavors, you'll be on a path to developing a the crucial skill of ideation. But you said it would also defeat A.I. didn't you?

Yes I did. Machine learning has come a long way, but coming up with creative solutions to difficult problems is still a major challenge for most software. By leveraging creative ideas and working with machines, you'll set yourself apart from your peers. When the time comes to make your next career move (or if your team is being replaced by Baxter), you'll be the one who stands out from the crowd. 

In my next post I'll tackle large frame pattern recognition, and how it too will be a crucial skill for the coming decade of machines learning. 

Want to learn about how machine learning is evolving to impact the future of your career? Find more at zacengler.com


Links to posts in this series & more:

1) Ideation

2) Large Frame Pattern Recognition

3) Complex Communication

4) Future-proofing Your Career

5) A.I. Stepping Into Life Series

Follow Zac on Twitter: @zacengler