In this installment of Interview with an Innovator, we hear from Kathleen Russell. Kathy is in the insurance space and holds a dual degree in Mathematics and Business. She won the Lipstick Innovation Competition with a couple of really cool ideas around lipstick strips and a “smart lipstick.” She’s participated in numerous crowdsourcing innovation competitions, so it’s not surprising that her suggestion for Betterific is for the platform to host weekly “lightning” challenges. Great idea. We’re always looking for ways to “flex your idea muscle” and I think that would be a great way to help people practice. We’re going to look into it!
Read on for Kathy’s brainstorming tips and where she goes for inspiration.
MW: What do you do when you’re not brainstorming on Betterific? Kathleen Russell (KR): I enjoy spending time with family and friends and trips to Las Vegas.
MW: What blogs do you recommend on ideation, creativity or innovation? KR: I subscribe to Seth Godin’s blog, it’s a free daily email from author Seth Godin.
MW: Do you have a startup/business on the side you want to tell us about? KR: My Hubby is working on a couple of products to take to market. I can’t say what they are right now, but look forward to sharing them once their live!
MW: When you get an invitation to join a Betterific innovation challenge, how do you approach the challenge? KR: I believe in intersectionality, so I try to think about other, similar but different industries and products to gain inspiration from what is available there. The question then becomes, how can we take what we’ve learned from other successful innovations and bring it to this specific industry.
MW: Do you have any tricks for breaking through a creative block? KR: I get a group of trusted family or friends together and toss out ideas, literally starting with crazy silly ideas, then hone in towards the problem you are solving. It’s a brainstorm, but in a safe space, so you don’t feel the pressure of groupthink. It also helps to have people who aren’t close to the problem or familiar with the typical boundaries or barriers.
MW: What have you enjoyed most about the Betterific platform? And what do you like most about the community? KR: I love reading other people’s ideas and having a place to go where it’s positive. The best part right now, is no one talks about the election!
MW: If you were CEO for a day, what would you improve about the platform? KR: Send a daily email with a small challenge and a link to log your ideas. Kind of like a daily lightening round.