How did you get on with the challenges I set you in my last post, did they lead you towards any creative ideas for your own business? I have a couple more techniques for you to try today.
This is a visual technique which stimulates the brain into looking at a problem from a different perspective. You can use it to help with product development, for generating new marketing ideas and a range of other uses.
Take a random object which has no obvious connection with the problem you are trying to solve. What ideas does that object generate? So let’s suppose our random object is a ball, here are some thoughts it might generate:
- comes in assorted sizes,
- can be passed from person to person,
- hockey, tennis, football, cricket, golf etc.
- can be hard or soft
- can be aimed at a goal or hole
- colourful or not
- free moving
- doesn’t stop until it hits an obstacle
So let’s assume we are trying to find some new ideas for marketing, we now need to take these thoughts generated by our ball and think how they might be applied to our problem. Here are some ideas:
- we could print our message on circular card or even a ball
- we could deliver our message in an app or computer game that has a prospect playing a ball game
- we could take up a hospitality package at a big match
- we could book a pitch at a local sports club and organise a competition for customers and prospects
- we could generate headlines around hitting the back of the net, going for goal etc.
- we could sponsor our local sports club in return for advertising
I’m sure you can come up with even more ideas. Why not take a random object that you have to hand right now and use it to stimulate some creative thinking about a problem that you would like to solve?
Take another perspective
When we always look at something from the same perspective it can be difficult to come up with fresh ideas but if we change the way we look at something it’s surprising what we see. For example, turn your jacket inside out, what do you see? You may see a different fabric, a label you’ve never read, a spare button you didn’t know was there. You may see how the jacket was constructed, how it is shaped to adapt to the contours of your body etc.
How about turning the problem you are trying to solve on its head? So instead of thinking about not having enough customers think about having too many. What would you do with them? How would you adapt your offer to serve them all? Would you change your opening hours or the way you offered your service? These ideas may suggest something you could do to bring in new customers.
In the UK we have Sunday trading laws which restrict the amount of hours larger stores are allowed to open, the law was designed to protect the smaller business but big retailers didn’t like it. It took them a few years but then they decided to become smaller stores! So now we have all the big boys trading long hours in their convenience units which are making life very difficult for independent stores. The big players looked at their Sunday trading problem from a different angle and came up with a highly profitable solution.
There comes a point for most brands when their traditional sales medium reaches saturation point, some radical thinking is needed in order to grow sales. You can see examples in the ice cream cabinets at your local supermarket where your favourite confectionery bar is now available as an ice cream or maybe you can find it in the cake isle as a lunch box item.
So next time you are scratching your head trying to solve a business development problem try turning it inside out, upside down or back to front, at least it will get you thinking. Instead of complaining about the clutter in your workspace use those random objects as a stimulus for new ideas.
We’d love to hear about any creative ideas that you’ve come up with using these techniques or about any techniques that have worked for you. Please share in the comments.