Every business needs creativity. Whether you’re an advertising agency like mine, a CPA firm, or a surgeon—you need to be creative to run a business. Of course, that creativity may be applied differently depending upon the need and nature of your business.
New ideas, processes, and solutions all begin with creativity. When we ask “What if…,” we have begun the creative process. It strikes me how many very successful people I know that claim they are not creative, and while I do understand the nature of that comment, I don’t really agree that they are not creative. I believe creativity is a learned behavior, not just a natural one. Some of us are wired to be creative first, and they call us right-brainers. Some are not—the left-brainers have to work a little harder. But we are all creative, made in the image of a Creator to overcome, subdue, and solve life’s dilemmas.
Right or left brained, here are some steps you can take to increase your creative output:
Change your surroundings
When you need to think outside the box, get outside the box. Go someplace else and address the problem, question, or blank sheet of paper from a different geographic standpoint. You never know what the new surroundings might inspire.
Change the question
When attacking something creatively, it often helps to ask the same question a different way. Use synonyms or re-word the question. Change the question to a statement or vise-versa. It will force you to approach it from a different perspective.
Ask “What,” not “How”
Creativity is stifled when you get into the weeds of details. There is a time for that, but not at first. Resist the temptation to reject ideas too early for fear you won’t be able to answer the “how” questions. Don’t worry about how at first; just let your mind imagine what can be.
How would your favorite cartoon character solve the problem? What would they do, say, or come up with? Bugs Bunny might use a trap door to stop Elmer Fudd, and while a trap door won’t work, a virtual one just might. If you were Steve Jobs or Walt Disney, how would you handle it? This will jog you out of your common-sense platform and get you into the world of “What If” pretty quickly.
Charge the hill. Forget about success and failure; don’t worry about the outcome just yet. Make up your mind to get a little crazy and go for it! The best artists in the world have all been a little wacko in someone’s eyes. Just let go and dream something up. You may end up with brilliance.
Write down your ideas—all of them. Then go back and choose the ones that seem to have the most potential. Then qualify them however you like—cost, impact, labor, effort, etc. You will end up with one or two winners. Then go to work on the “how” part. Before you know it, you’re well on your way to a creative solution.
Creativity requires inspiration, perspective, imagination, and courage. Your business won’t grow without it. It helps to get a new perspective from someone who specializes in “different.” If you need help with creativity, let us know.
David Day is a marketing coach, brand architect, and ad agency owner. He helps clients make good decisions about marketing, advertising, and company culture. Connect with David at www.thedaygroup.com.