Creativity and innovative thinking are skills that everyone has access to … as long as they choose to access them and believe in themselves. If your business is stagnating, here is an exercise you can do to generate some innovative ideas to turn things around:
At the top of a piece of paper, a white board or whatever surface you’ll be doing your brainstorming work on, write out your business problem. Make sure you are clear because clarity of problem equals better quality solutions.
For the next 15-20 minutes, write down every conceivable solution you can think of to that problem. Don’t judge what comes up. Don’t edit the ideas. Just keep writing everything that comes across your mind, regardless how crazy or improbable you think it might be.
Categorize your list of ideas. Group them into logical categories. For example, you may have written down several that use social media. Another grouping might be categories as publicity. It is possible that you’ll find one or two ideas that don’t logically fit into a category. That’s fine, put them into a category by themselves.
Select three to five of the best solutions you came up with and work on fleshing them out. Now you can edit, tweak, fine-tune and elaborate so that they shine. It is possible that you may see how more than one idea you had in step two can be merged to create an even better idea. Be creative and let your innovative juices flow.
You can’t get started because you don’t believe you are creative or innovative enough.
Stop that! But seriously, you are creative and innovative enough to do this. If you have a problem, the solution to that problem lies within your grasp. Sometimes you just need to remind yourself of your creativity. Think back through your live and career: What are some times that you came up with new and interesting ideas to make a difference in the lives and businesses of those around you? Maybe you created an interesting lopsided mug when you were six. Maybe you designed a new way to use an Excel spreadsheet to organize information at your job. If you look hard enough, you’ll find examples. Use those examples to bolster your confidence in your ability to do this exercise.
You find yourself stuck in Step 2 with few ideas.
Take a step back from this activity and do something that will get your creative juices flowing. Play with your kids or your pet. Play like a kid. Take a walk. Turn on some music and dance. Try to read a magazine upside down. Basically, you are shifting your thinking from the left “analytical” side to the the right “creative” side.
Another word of encouragement:
Don’t be afraid to take risks and to face failure. If you don’t fail, you didn’t take action. Action moves you forward and each wrong turn gets you closer to the right one. Keep in mind that you are a leader in your business and, as Ryan Avery says, “Failure Always Inspires Leaders“!