These kind of quizzes are basically clever attempts by quiz makers to draw your attention and get you thinking about your own innovative ideas. Usually they are timed to coincide with a specific publication, or an event related to an area of study. The basic premise is that if readers are kept sufficiently entertained, then they will retain enough information to pass the test. If this happens, then the designer gets credit for his or her idea, and it can help them get funding for further research and development on this very same topic.
In my experience, these types of quizzes often do a disservice to the designers who created them. In some cases the designer may be asked to answer questions about their personal life. This is fine, but it does little to promote further innovative ideas. Sometimes the creator is asked to discuss only the technical aspects of their design. This is fine, but again, it does little to promote new ideas.
One very common question posed on such quizzes is whether the design is part of an ongoing research project. In my experience, the answer should always be no. There is absolutely nothing that motivates university researchers to continue their work once the initial concept is complete. Why? Because, as soon as the concept is complete, the world changes and these researchers must move on to something else.
This applies in every field. Think about how many times you’ve heard, “You can not think of a better way to do something” or, “Thinking of a better way to do something is what started the ball rolling in the first place”? These statements are usually true, but they are not always true in every case. Sometimes someone came up with an idea, developed a concept, and then worked with others to make that concept a reality. If the innovator was asked to explain what happened next, many would be surprised that a better solution was available.
Sometimes an innovative idea comes from an observation of something that has already happened. For example, I used to watch the reindeer in the wintertime at an estate that is open to the public. One of the reindeer were walking along a snow-covered hillside, when suddenly out of the corner of my eye I saw a strange white rabbit that was walking along in the opposite direction. The reindeer were not accustomed to such unusual visitors so they approached the strange rabbit, but instead of walking away, it suddenly turned around and faced the other reindeer in the direction in which they were walking. After a little while the other reindeer went over and petted the rabbit as if it were a member of the herd.
In the above example, there may have been several things that motivated this innovative idea. Each of those elements could have been considered a separate invention, but if those elements were all related, it becomes easier to see how this could qualify as one idea. It’s just important to be clear on the goal or question for which we are seeking innovative answers to. This makes it easier to create the correct classification system.
When I take my innovation design quiz for me, I am looking for a common theme, a theme that can be drawn from many other instances of creativity. The questions usually start out like this: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” followed by some other set of questions about your goals and personal interests. I hope that you will find this site helpful in your search for inventive answers.