Ideas can come in a flood. Sometimes your mind bursts with so many ideas and possibilities that the only problem you really have is selecting the best one or two. At other times, ideas seem to be stubbornly locked away in your unconscious and just won’t pop out. Or, they may just come to you in a trickle.
I recently experienced the stubbornness of ideas revealing themselves when I began the work on a marketing plan for a new product. I spoke to others in the business and found out what methods worked for them. I did some additional research on Google and on a members-only international database of articles and research papers related to the product.
When I had digested all this information, I let all the facts and data percolate in my unconscious before I set out to work on the marketing plan. I needed to push the envelope here because it is not an easy product to promote in an already crowded market and I wanted to come up with exciting new ways to sell the product that go beyond the regular traditional methods and sales channels.
Even after a few days the new ideas were still not coming. But I was fully aware that I needed to be patient and wait for the breakthrough. In the meantime, I wrote down as many of the new ideas I could come up with knowing that some were just junk but being aware that I could toss them at a later stage. I think if you just sit around waiting for ideas you may end up with very little or possibly nothing to show for your time. By getting your brain to work on the problem, you are actually activating the creative side of your brain (some say it your right-hand side and have done studies to prove this) but wherever it is or whatever it is you need to get it working for you.
Towards the end of the first week I suddenly received flashes of new ideas that I hadn’t thought of before. Some were unusual and seemed unrelated to the challenge at hand but I listed them anyway. Then at some sort of pivot point the ideas came rapidly and soon I had so many that I had to stop and sort and select the ones that seemed most promising.
You see, with the creative process it pays to get started as early as you can to do preliminary research or observation or listening to your customers so that your unconscious has time to work with your problem and deliver solutions in flashes of inspiration. If you use this process regularly, then your brain gets used to you asking it for answers and solutions or new insights. Which really just means that the more you use your brain for creative problem-solving, the better it gets.
By using these stages or steps in the creative process, I was able to come up with far better solutions to the challenge of marketing this difficult product than I would have even got from speaking to the so-called gurus or high-paid consultants in the market. There is a strong chance that they would have merely rolled out old ideas that have been used in the past that worked but are no longer as effective as they should be in today’s highly competitive markets.
The other amazing capacity of the brain is that once you activate it, you may receive an initial wave of new ideas, concepts and insights but later on (which could be anything from weeks or months or even a year later). Your brain seems to continue to search for even better solutions even after you’re satisfied that you’ve done the best you can do. That’s why it’s important to “listen” to your intuitions or flashes of inspiration or insight even after you have “solved” your initial problem. Better solutions are also available once you start implementing them in the marketplace and make necessary changes or adjustments to your initial ideas. For entrepreneurs it’s crucial to respond and adjust to new information and re-work your idea to achieve the breakthrough you want.