Creative thinking has helped humans solve problems and challenges throughout history, but the pace of innovation has never been faster. Dr Chris Brauer, Director of Innovation in the Institute of Management Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London and Founder of the Centre for Creative and Social Technologies, is an expert in innovation. Here, we summarise his recent webcast to share his tips to help students develop successful ideas to solve the problems of water, food and energy, posed by Shell Ideas360.

Shell Ideas360 embodies the challenge facing all academics, to take their theories and share them with a wider audience to see what impact they can have on the world. It also allows students to share knowledge and learn from others, to refine their ideas and get a broader understanding how they might be received in the real world.


Programmes like Shell Ideas 360 that fire innovation are more important than ever as emerging technologies are changing the way we live faster than ever, and our creativity is being challenged to keep up. Typically, innovation follows an S-curve, starting slowly then building momentum until it’s adopted by the mainstream, and then finally reaching saturation point and becoming less relevant.

As this process speeds up it is more important than ever to continually innovate, so you have new ideas to pick up from the older ones.

“In your own lives and your own ideas, you really want to be focused on this idea. You want to be able to operate in a way where you’re maximising the benefits of what you do well now, while always thinking about what you can do next or how you can continue to build and evolve your ideas”, explains Dr Chris.

The way we are innovating is changing too. Shifting from new products disrupting the market, to process innovation, where the big ideas are all around how to do things more efficiently and effectively. For example, how automation will change how we live and work by allowing things to be done much more quickly. “Emergent technologies have been quite transformative in the last couple of years, but have the potential to be quite disruptive moving forward into the near future”, explains Dr Chris.


For human innovation to survive and thrive in this fast-moving future, dominated by ever more intelligent technology, it requires a specific mindset. Dr Chris outlines his tips to help you become the next top innovator:

  • Have a growth mindset – focus as much on the process as the outcome, so you can learn along the way and not be held back by any failures.
  • Create and notice opportunities – teach yourself to think positively, for example keep a journal and write something positive in it every day and be resilient so you can turn bad ‘luck’ into good.
  • Start with emotion – getting people emotionally involved with your idea is the best way to help it grow and succeed. Start small and work hard on getting people engaged.
  • You don’t need to understand everything – in any idea there will be a degree of incompleteness, so don’t let what you don’t know put you off developing it.
  • Don’t be afraid of being critical – always assess your idea, measure its performance and have the agility to change it if you need to. Then create data on what you have done, so you can continue to learn and foster a growth mindset.

View Dr Chris Brauer’s full webcast to get more information and advice here.