Be aware of negative attitudes towards “problems”

IMG-20150822-00887Automatically seeing a problem as “negative” can prevent you from getting the facts both positive and negative to an issue. As creative consultant Man Min Basadur says, our negative perceptions cause us to avoid problems rather than to seek them out.

“We will seek only the facts that support our preconceived negative view, leading to inadequate and off-target problem defining,” Basadur says. Continue reading

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Creative ideas needed to stop elephants destroying traffic-counting devices in game park

English: Elephant mating ritual (No. 2 in a se...

English: Elephant mating ritual (No. 2 in a series of 5 photos) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A creative idea was needed to stop elephants damaging traffic-counting devices during a study in a nature reserve on roadkill. Motorists speeding in the nature park were monitored with the use of traffic-counting devices but the elephants discovered them and took a liking to the devices.

If you were faced with a similar challenge, what idea would you come up with to prevent the elephants damaging the traffic-counting equipment? Continue reading

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No matter how creative you are, second-guess customers at your own peril – 8 golden rules

A couple previously in “marketing” opened a local restaurant-coffee shop with good intentions but after 18 months were forced to sell it. What went wrong?

Strangely enough, it’s simple. They decided they knew what customers wanted. It’s a common mistake. But costly.

In the last few months you could see that things were going wrong. They put exotic items on the menu, attracted the wrong beer swilling crowd, drunken and obnoxious, took away the specials and started charging for Wi-Fi unless you spent a minimum of R50. Continue reading

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How valuable is “creativity” in your life?

(Copyright © 2015 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved)

(Copyright © 2015 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved)

A small business owner has bought a second-hand restaurant-coffee shop that the previous owner failed to run profitably. So, you might think, what can the new owner do that is going to be different? Has he got new ideas?

The short answer is that the new owner has several ideas on how to turn the business around. I can tell you he’s wasting no time. He’s already clearly defined his market and in the first week is making big changes.

How does this relate to you? Continue reading

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Creativity comes in handy during a downturn

(Copyright © 2015 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved)

(Copyright © 2015 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved)

A consumer goods company that came up against an economic downturn decided to turn to the creativity of its employees to reduce internal waste. The company took this action rather than bringing in an external consultant who would most likely have introduced employee retrenchments.

The result: employees identified close to 30 waste points and saved the company a potential $12 million, according to a case study reported in an industrial management journal. Continue reading

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Mountain biker discovers new nut-butter idea – could you pull off something similar?

Peanut butter is a semi-solid and can therefor...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Enthusiastic mountain biker Justin Gold battled to find healthy snacks to provide him with protein and energy but after experimenting with different foods he began grinding almonds and peanuts using a simple food processor at home.

In a few years Justin’s nut-butter company has grown to include 40 employees that brings in more than $50 million in annual revenues. They sell peanut-almond and other nut-based snacks. Continue reading

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New idea helps car insurance “spy” on your driving to reduce claims

A car crash on Jagtvej in Copenhagen, Denmark.

A car crash on Jagtvej in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A UK insurer will provide policyholders with a device to generate video footage of a crash using Google’s virtual mapping service.

The device will communicate to the car insurer how the customer was driving, including the speed, location and direction of impact, acceleration and braking immediately before and during the accident, according to an article in the Financial Times. Continue reading

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Are you ready to run a country business?

(Copyright © 2015 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved)

(Copyright © 2015 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved)

I saw an article on country business the other day from a writer I have admired for many years. In fact, ever since I was a cadet reporter. Chris Marais has made the country his life and is a brilliant storyteller.

He wrote how farmers and small country businesses in the Karoo have taken to the Internet and how the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope project outside Carnarvon in the Northern Cape will help improve bandwidth in the Karoos. It’s interesting too that farmers are starting second or sideline businesses online. Continue reading

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Whose advice do you listen to in this attention-screaming information tsunami?

Scrimshawed ostrich egg. Probably New England,...

Scrimshawed ostrich egg. Probably New England, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you say outrageous things maybe you will get people to listen to you.

A fading, socially guilt-ridden poet wants us all to become like finely chopped up fried eggs.

Yet when the world she lives in is really like one broken ostrich egg with the pieces of shells impossible to put back, you realise she’s an idealistic dreamer, that’s all. Continue reading

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Do your fact-finding before you start to generate new ideas

(Copyright © 2015 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved)

(Copyright © 2015 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved)

I visited a solar farm and found out that one of the maintenance issues was the grass growing below the solar panel banks. In the winter the grass was low but when the summer rains come the grass grows quickly and has to be maintained. Various options or alternatives have been looked at but no new ideas have yet been implemented.

This is the thing: when you come up against a problem, you need to do some fact-finding beforehand to fully understand the nature of the problem. In this case what the owners could do is to do some fact-finding by bringing in a soil expert or a horticulturist. Either would give an accurate assessment of what can and can’t be done. The initial solutions about using grass poisons or even bringing in sheep to “mow” the lawn could have implications that are costly. Continue reading

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