For hundreds of years, the act of innovation, being creative, has been a bit of a mystery to many people. If you go back thousands of years, the notion was that creative ideas were given to us by the gods. That’s where the word “genius” comes from. It originally meant “spirits that would whisper ideas inside your eats”.
So we never really understood where big ideas come from; ancient civilizations thought they came from the spirit realm, as I said, but what we know today is that every human being is intrinsically creative. We just need to bring that creativity out of people.
The Four Lenses is actually a methodology for helping us to think more creatively. It’s based on a lot of research into hundreds of cases of innovation; trying to figure out how the mind of the innovator works.
If you take a good look at how people like Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk think, and you analyze their thinking patterns, if you do that kind of research, you’ll see again and again that the same common thinking patterns keep recurring. And there are four of them – I call them the “four lenses”.
They’re perspectives – or particular ways of looking at the world – that the innovators tend to use subconsciously, based on their personality. But they are also thinking patterns that we can use consciously.
Anyone can systematically employ those lenses of thinking patterns individually and in teams to come up with new breakthrough thinking.
If you want to drill a hole in the wall, you can try to do it with a pencil and it’ll take you a whole year and there won’t be much left of the pencil, or you can take a power drill and do the job in seconds. That’s what the four lenses of innovation are like — they amplify and enable our intrinsic creative capability, whether we’re right- or left-brained, and give us the tools we need to think differently, stretch our thinking along new lines, and come up with new ideas.