Revisiting the past provides a prime opportunity to resurface previous work and discover new benefits. One key to doing this successfully? Approaching it in a structured fashion so that looking backward for innovation doesn’t become a celebration of old ways of doing things which make no strategic sense.

These five activities to reimagine previous innovative concepts are not about recycling old ideas. They are intended to foster a culture where continuous learning, sustainable thinking, and creative repurposing are vital to growth. Embracing these activities can open doors to a culture where every experience, whether successful or not, is fully mined for innovative breakthroughs.

5 Ways to Reimagine Previous Innovative Efforts

1) Implement a regular Blessing in Disguise practice.


Always seek opportunities to turn setbacks into future possibilities. Encourage teams to revisit past challenges and failures to uncover overlooked opportunities or hidden lessons. Making this practice routine fosters a culture where continually experimenting and learning are valued, no matter how successful an initiative looks originally.

2) Host a Failure Forum to analyze mistakes for hidden opportunities.


Create a safe space for team members to openly discuss past organizational mistakes and extract valuable insights. This practice encourages a deeper understanding of missteps as fertile ground for innovative thinking and future success.

3) Organize a Creative Salvage workshop to repurpose discarded materials.


Encourage teams to think sustainably by finding new uses for materials or ideas that were previously cast aside. The experience both promotes environmental responsibility and drives home the message that innovation often lies in seeing the old in new ways.

4) Implement a Recycle and Reinvent program for unused resources.

Take dormant resources or ideas and breathe new life into them. Teams can demonstrate their creativity and resourcefulness, turning things once considered waste into valuable organizational assets.

5) Create an Idea Revival Event that revisits and develops unused ideas.

Great ideas can be shelved because of timing or resource constraints. Take an opportunity to dust off those ideas and give them new attention. Go into it with an openness to recognizing potential that was once ignored, encouraging a culture of thorough exploration and consideration.

Get All You Can from Innovation


Pursuing any of these activities to revisit previous ideas is about more than sustainability. They represent aspects of a strategic approach to innovation where every idea, experience, and mistake is a potential source for future success. - Mike Brown