Here is a fun fact for you. Take regular pack of 52 playing cards and give them a good Shuffle. You have just created something unique, something no one else has created! Why? because there are more permutations of cards in a 52 card deck than seconds since the big bang! (basically a very big number) so the chance that anyone else has shuffled a deck exactly the same as yours is pretty much zero!
Shuffling the cards doesn’t change what they are but as anyone knows who plays cards, getting them in certain orders and creating combinations can not only win you a lot of money, they create the very basics of most card games. This randomness means that there is always a lot of luck in getting the cards you want, but through practice you can start to strategise based on what you hold, what you have already seen and what the other players are doing, not so different from running most businesses!
Sometimes the best ideas are created just by reshuffling what we have around us to create something new or more powerful. Call this low hanging fruit or whatever these are the ideas that are at your finger tips if only you can find the right shuffle.
That for me is the most exciting part of creating ideas and inventions. The best ideas seem to be the ones that just appear by looking at a problem with a new lens. Ideas developed in this way are often easier to implement because they use skills or resources you already possess rather than trying to implement a completely new technology or process. Prove yourself capable at this and it can be a great springboard to bigger changes,
A great tip is to get hold of a blank pack of playing cards and write on each card something that could contribute to innovation for you …a technology, a consumer pattern, a person, a country..whatever makes sense to your business. Shuffling these and dealing them out in different orders can trigger combinations that can you might not have previously thought of. Of course this doesn’t make it a commercially good idea, but it can often lead to one.
If you dig into many inventions and innovations they often came about quite by accident. Turning these accidents into planned innovations is of course the goal of anyone involved in NPD. Learning how to reshuffle what you have at your fingertips to create a unique winning hand should be your first goal.
Thanks for reading, I post on design, design culture, play thinking and innovation. Follow me on Twitter @richheayes
Richard Heayes is founder of Heayes Design, a design and invention consultancy
with a playful spirit, helping the Play business innovate.
As a Designer & Design Director at Hasbro for over eighteen years Richard led creative
product development on dozens of brands from Monopoly, Scrabble, MB, Trivial Pursuit,
PlayDoh to name a few. He brings an insight and passion for blending design vision
with business insight to create breakthrough products that deliver.