Ian Wiedenman blog

I grew my company ITW Creative Works from a start-up to a thriving creative development agency through strategic business growth and strong client relationships.

How Do I Keep Innovating Across Different Projects?

How Do I Keep Innovating Across Different Projects?
Business Innovation Entrepreneurship Project Management 15 min read 3 comments

Discover how Ian Wiedenman continuously innovates across multiple projects, sharing his journey, key strategies, and future plans.

My Journey of Innovation: From Somiibo to StudyMonkey.ai

Innovation isn’t just a buzzword for me; it’s a way of life. I remember the early days, tinkering away on Somiibo, my first major project. Back then, I didn’t realize I was laying the groundwork for a series of ventures that would soon follow. Somiibo started as a simple idea: to create a multifunctional social media automation tool that could save users time and effort. Little did I know, this small spark of creativity would ignite a firestorm of innovation within me.

Fast forward a few years, and here I am, juggling multiple projects like Slapform.com and StudyMonkey.ai. Each venture has its unique challenges and rewards, but the driving force behind them all is the same: a relentless pursuit of innovation. Take StudyMonkey.ai, for instance. This project stemmed from a desire to revolutionize how students approach learning. By integrating AI to create personalized study plans, I aimed to make studying not just more efficient but also more enjoyable.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Every project, including Somiibo, started with a problem that needed solving. I found that the best way to innovate was to identify gaps in the market and think creatively about how to fill them. This approach led me to develop tools that not only addressed these gaps but also provided real value to users. It’s been a rollercoaster of trial and error, but each misstep taught me valuable lessons that I carried into my next venture.

One of the most exciting aspects of this journey has been witnessing the evolution of my ideas. What started as a humble social media tool has now expanded into a suite of innovative projects, each with its distinct flavor. Slapform.com, for example, emerged from the need for a simpler way to create forms and collect data. It’s all about making life easier for users, and that’s a thread that runs through all my projects.

Throughout this journey, I’ve kept my eyes open for opportunities to innovate and improve. Whether it’s incorporating the latest technology or finding new ways to engage users, the goal is always to push the boundaries of what’s possible. And honestly, that’s what keeps me going. The thrill of turning an abstract idea into a tangible product is unmatched.

So, here I am, constantly evolving, constantly innovating. From the humble beginnings of Somiibo to the cutting-edge AI of StudyMonkey.ai, my journey has been anything but dull. And trust me, this is just the beginning. There’s a whole world of innovation out there, and I’m excited to see where this path leads next. Who knows? Maybe the next big idea is just around the corner, waiting to be discovered.

Why Innovation is Key: The Driving Force Behind My Projects

Alright, folks, let’s dive into the heart of the matter—why is innovation such a big deal for me? Why do I constantly chase after new ideas like a dog chasing its tail? Well, let me tell you, innovation isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the lifeblood of every project I embark on, from Somiibo to StudyMonkey.ai and beyond.

First off, innovation is the secret sauce that keeps things exciting. Imagine eating the same bland meal every day—boring, right? The same goes for projects. When I innovate, I mix things up, adding new flavors, textures, and experiences. This keeps me engaged and, more importantly, keeps my audience coming back for more. It’s like cooking up a five-star meal every single time.

Moreover, innovation is what sets you apart in a crowded market. In a world where everyone is trying to outdo each other, standing still is the same as moving backward. By constantly pushing the envelope, I ensure that my projects don’t just blend into the background noise. They stand tall, making a statement. Take a gander at some expert advice on this from Inc.com and Fast Company. Their insights have been invaluable on my journey.

Innovation also fuels problem-solving. Every project comes with its own set of challenges, and let’s be honest, sometimes it feels like I’m playing a never-ending game of whack-a-mole. But with an innovative mindset, I don’t just whack at problems; I find creative solutions that not only solve the issue but often add extra value. It’s like turning lemons into lemonade, but with a splash of mint and a twist of lime.

Let’s not forget the thrill of the unknown. There’s something exhilarating about venturing into uncharted territory. Sure, it’s risky, but that’s part of the fun! The adrenaline rush of trying something new and the satisfaction of seeing it succeed—there’s nothing quite like it. Plus, it makes for some great stories to share at dinner parties.

Finally, innovation is about growth. It’s about pushing boundaries and expanding horizons. Whether it’s developing new features for Slapform.com or diving into the AI-driven world with StudyMonkey.ai, each innovative step I take propels me—and my projects—forward. Check out this insightful read from Strategy+Business on staying innovative in a rapidly changing world. It’s a goldmine of wisdom.

So, why is innovation key? Because it keeps things fresh, sets me apart, solves problems, adds excitement, and drives growth. It’s the engine that powers my journey from one project to the next, always with an eye on what’s possible. If you’re curious about how you can foster innovation in your own ventures, have a look at this guide from Deloitte and the innovation matrix from Gartner. Trust me, it’s worth the read.

Stay curious, stay bold, and keep innovating.

Balancing Creativity and Practicality: How I Keep Ideas Fresh

Alright, let’s get real here. Balancing creativity and practicality is like walking a tightrope—while juggling flaming torches. Sounds dramatic, but when you’re bouncing between projects like Somiibo and StudyMonkey.ai, it’s all about keeping those creative juices flowing without spilling them all over the place. So, how do I keep my ideas fresh while staying grounded? Buckle up, folks; it’s storytime.

First off, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: practicality. It’s easy to get lost in the clouds, dreaming up the next big thing. But without a tether to reality, those dreams can quickly become unmanageable nightmares. I make it a point to regularly evaluate my ideas through the lens of project management. This means asking myself, “Is this feasible? Can I realistically execute this idea?” If the answer is a resounding “no,” it’s back to the drawing board. Keeping one foot on the ground helps ensure that my wildest ideas aren’t just pie in the sky but can actually be turned into something tangible.

Now, here’s where things get spicy—creativity. You see, creativity isn’t a tap you can turn on and off at will. It’s more like a mischievous sprite that shows up when you least expect it. To coax it out of hiding, I switch up my surroundings. Whether it’s taking a walk in the park, diving into a good book, or even playing video games, these little changes in routine work wonders for sparking new ideas. Sometimes, inspiration strikes in the most unexpected places—like that time I got the idea for StudyMonkey.ai while watching a documentary about… monkeys. Go figure!

Speaking of routines, I sprinkle a bit of structure into my creative process. Sounds counterintuitive, right? But trust me on this. Allocating specific times for brainstorming and creative sessions helps me stay on track. It’s like setting a date with my muse. And believe me, she’s a diva who appreciates punctuality.

But let’s not forget the secret sauce—collaboration. Even as a solopreneur, bouncing ideas off other people (or even my cat) can lead to breakthroughs. Sometimes, just explaining an idea out loud helps me see it from a different perspective. If you want to dive deeper into my collaborative process, check out my blog post From Concept to Launch: The Steps I Take to Build Innovative Solutions.

Now, here’s a little trick I’ve picked up over the years: blending creativity with a sprinkle of practicality. When an idea strikes, I immediately jot it down, no matter how outrageous it seems. Later, I revisit these notes and sift through them with a critical eye. Some ideas get the green light; others get shelved for future consideration. This way, I maintain a reservoir of fresh concepts while ensuring I’m not chasing every shiny object that catches my eye.

In conclusion, keeping ideas fresh is all about balance. By integrating a bit of discipline into the creative process and allowing for spontaneity within structured frameworks, I keep the innovation train chugging along. And if you’re curious about how I adapt and evolve my projects, feel free to dive into my blog post How I Stay Ahead of the Curve with Constant Innovation.

So, next time you’re stuck in a creative rut, remember: mix things up, stay practical, and never underestimate the power of a good brainstorming session—whether it’s with a colleague or your pet. Happy innovating!

Tools and Techniques: My Go-To Resources for Innovation

When it comes to keeping the innovation engine humming, I’ve found that having the right tools and techniques is like having a secret weapon. It’s what turns a good idea into a game-changer. Over the years, from Somiibo to StudyMonkey.ai, I’ve amassed a toolkit that never fails to spark creativity and drive business growth. Let me share some of my go-to resources that keep my projects fresh and exciting.

First up, let’s talk about mind mapping. This technique is my go-to for brainstorming sessions. Whether I’m in the throes of conceptualizing a new feature for Slapform.com or plotting the next big thing for StudyMonkey.ai, mind mapping helps me visualize the connections between ideas. I use tools like MindMeister and XMind, which allow me to create, share, and expand my thoughts in a highly visual way. It’s like having a digital whiteboard that never runs out of space.

Another essential tool in my arsenal is Evernote. This app is my second brain. I use it to jot down ideas, clip web articles, and even record voice notes when inspiration strikes at odd hours. The beauty of Evernote is its ability to sync across all my devices, ensuring that no idea gets lost in the shuffle. Plus, its organizational features are a godsend for a solopreneur juggling multiple projects.

Speaking of organization, Trello is my project management lifeline. Its card and board system is perfect for keeping track of tasks, deadlines, and progress across various ventures. Whether I’m coordinating with my team on a new update for Somiibo or managing the content calendar for my blog, Trello’s flexibility makes it easy to stay on top of everything without losing my sanity.

For real-time collaboration, Slack is unbeatable. It keeps communication flowing smoothly, whether I’m working with developers, designers, or marketing folks. The ability to create different channels for different projects helps keep conversations organized, and integrations with other tools like Google Drive make it even more powerful.

Now, let’s talk about inspiration. Staying inspired while managing multiple ventures can be challenging, but I have a secret weapon: reading. I make it a point to devour books, blogs, and articles on topics ranging from business growth to creativity. Websites like Medium and my own blog are treasure troves of insights and ideas that keep me motivated and informed.

Last but not least, let’s not forget the importance of downtime. Yes, you heard that right. Sometimes, the best ideas come when you’re not actively searching for them. Taking breaks, whether it’s a walk in the park or a weekend getaway, can recharge your creativity and provide a fresh perspective on challenges. It’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way—burnout is the enemy of innovation.

So, there you have it—my trusty toolkit for keeping the innovation flames burning bright. These tools and techniques have been instrumental in my journey from Somiibo to the thriving empire I’m building today. And remember, innovation isn’t about having the most tools; it’s about using the right ones in the right way.

Overcoming Obstacles: Lessons Learned from Multiple Ventures

Ah, the sweet aroma of success—it’s often accompanied by the stinging scent of failure. As someone who’s been around the block a few times, I can tell you that every triumph in my journey, from Somiibo to StudyMonkey.ai, has been paved with more than a few stumbling blocks. But here’s the kicker: those obstacles have a sneaky way of teaching you some of the most valuable lessons you’ll ever learn.

One of the first hurdles I faced was the notorious “imposter syndrome.” Starting out with Somiibo, I constantly questioned whether I was the right person to lead such an innovative project. Do I have the chops? Can I really make this work? These nagging doubts were like uninvited guests at a party—they just wouldn’t leave. But then, I realized something crucial: everyone feels this way at some point. The trick? Embrace it, use it as fuel, and just keep moving forward.

Another curveball life threw my way was managing multiple projects simultaneously. I mean, who needs sleep, right? Balancing Somiibo, Slapform, and StudyMonkey.ai was no walk in the park. I had to master the art of time management and learn to delegate effectively. Trust me, trying to micromanage every single detail is a surefire way to burn out. Instead, I focused on building a reliable team and automating tasks wherever possible.

And let’s not forget the financial hiccups. Ah, yes, the moments when the budget goes awry, and you’re left scrambling to make ends meet. It was during these times that I learned the importance of financial planning and risk management. Having a cushion, a Plan B (and sometimes a Plan C), became essential.

Technical challenges? Oh, they were aplenty. From unexpected bugs to server crashes, the tech side of things was a never-ending rollercoaster. But each technical glitch taught me the value of resilience and the importance of having a talented, adaptable development team.

Then there were the market shifts—those unpredictable changes in consumer behavior and industry trends. When StudyMonkey.ai first launched, we had to pivot more than a few times to align with what users actually wanted. This constant need for adaptation taught me to stay nimble and always keep an ear to the ground.

So, what’s the biggest takeaway from all these lessons? Persistence. It’s the secret sauce that keeps the innovative wheels turning. No matter how formidable the obstacle, pushing through and learning from each challenge is what ultimately drives success.

For those curious about diving deeper into my journey, you can check out more detailed stories on my blog. Here’s a good starting point: From Somiibo to Slapform: A Journey of Innovation and Growth.

In essence, every setback, every failure, is just another stepping stone toward innovation and growth. So, the next time you hit a roadblock, remember: it’s not the end of the road, it’s merely a detour. Happy innovating!

Looking Ahead: What’s Next on My Innovation Horizon?

As I stand on the cusp of new adventures, my mind is buzzing with a multitude of ideas, each one vying for attention like a kid in a candy store. Innovation has always been my compass, guiding me from Somiibo to StudyMonkey.ai, and it shows no signs of slowing down. So, what’s next on the horizon? Let’s dive into the tantalizing possibilities that are stirring my creative cauldron.

First off, I’m immensely excited about leveraging AI and machine learning in ways that could revolutionize everyday tasks. Imagine an AI not only organizing your schedule but also predicting the best times for your most productive work, or a machine learning model that adapts to your personal learning style. The potential here is boundless, and I’m committed to exploring every nook and cranny of this fascinating field.

Another area I’m keen to explore is the intersection of technology and mental health. The pandemic has thrust mental well-being into the spotlight, and I believe there’s immense scope for innovative tools that can offer real support. From AI-driven virtual therapists to apps that can detect mood changes and suggest coping mechanisms, the future looks promising. I’m particularly intrigued by how we can use data to provide personalized mental health solutions that are both effective and accessible.

Of course, sustainability is a topic that’s close to my heart. With climate change looming large, I’m eager to dive into projects that marry technology with environmental stewardship. Whether it’s developing apps that help individuals reduce their carbon footprint or creating platforms for sustainable business practices, the goal is to make a tangible impact on the world we live in.

And let’s not forget the realm of education. StudyMonkey.ai was just the beginning. The pandemic has also highlighted the gaps in our education system, and there’s a pressing need for tools that can offer flexible, personalized learning experiences. I’m exploring ideas that range from adaptive learning platforms to virtual classrooms that can bring quality education to the most remote corners of the globe.

All this innovation isn’t without its fair share of challenges, but hey, what’s life without a bit of spice? As I gear up for these new ventures, I carry with me the lessons learned from my previous projects. If you’re curious about the hurdles I’ve faced and how I’ve navigated them, check out my blog on navigating roadblocks as a solopreneur.

Looking ahead, I’m filled with a sense of excitement and anticipation. The journey of innovation is a never-ending one, and I’m thrilled to see where it takes me next. If you’re interested in following along or even collaborating, keep an eye on my blog for updates and insights.

So, here’s to the next chapter in this ever-evolving story. Who knows what the future holds? One thing’s for certain: it’s going to be a thrilling ride!


Follow my journey as a solopreneur, and my evolution from launching Somiibo, a single project, to expanding my empire with multiple innovative projects like Slapform.com, StudyMonkey.ai, and more