Times like these draw the best out of us. We need to dig deep and pull on our inner resources. Wealth and value creation take on a new importance. What are we doing to increase our sales? How much money are we leaving on the table? How can we get our products faster to market? What innovations on the backburner can we fast forward? Are our selling and promotion campaigns achieving the results we require? How can we transform our hobbies and interests into money making opportunities?
It takes more than hard work in tough times. Innovation is more important than we think. Joe Vitale points out in “The 7 lost secrets of success” that Bruce Barton, the second “B” in BBDO (the famous Batten, Barton, Durstine, and Osborn agency), became chairman of the board of BBDO in September 1928 when the agencies became one. The agency had 113 clients, 600 employees, and billings of $32.6 million in their first year — the first year of the Great Depression. Can you believe that? A business based on ideas making truckloads of money in the worst of times.
You may have all the best intentions in the world. You may have decided that you want to be more creative and produce more ideas to benefit your personal or business life. You may be inspired to create more ideas. Now what? You’ve got your week laid before you and have decided that you will spend a half an hour each morning to produce ideas.
Monday comes – you wake up late. Monday evening you are too tired to think creatively about generating ideas. Just as well because you can’t force creativity. Tuesday comes around and you have a meeting at eight o’clock and will to wake up half an hour early if you want to produce ideas. Perhaps you could find a quiet place with the right atmosphere to produce ideas. And so it goes.
Viewing producing ideas as some activity that you have to do at set, allocated times can be too forced, out of kilter with the inner human creative process. For those who are extremely self disciplined, it can help to allocate a set time. Creativity can’t be viewed as some add on to your life: it needs to be part of your way of living. Let me explain.
Almost anything you do every day can benefit from creative thinking. If you are planning a project, an event, a consulting proposal, a creative work such as a painting, a photographic shoot – all of these will have greater impact with pre-thinking, visualisation and imagining possibilities. You need to build creativity into important tasks in a seamless way.
With many tasks to do in a week, how can you find time to produce more creative ideas?
How do you integrate creativity into the most relevant or high impact processes where you hope to achieve amazing results? You are planning an important project. Do you just go ahead in the usual way? Perhaps you need to rethink what you’ve been doing. Is it still relevant? Does it give you maximum impact? Is it the most cost-effective way? Have you maximised the benefits for all involved? Will it make money?
By sitting down perhaps in a quiet place such as a coffee shop before you start dashing out your list of activities for your project, you could brainstorm, mindmap or perform a clustering exercise for 10 minutes. Right there, before you begin your project you can engage in a creative process. If you’re not familiar with using creativity tools like freewriting, you may not benefit from your first few attempts. Try it a few times and you could be amazed at the ideas you produce.
Why go to this trouble? With stiff competition for better, smarter and more cost-effective ways of doing things that stand out, you need to raise your game.
You can inject creativity into just about anything you do if you want superior results. Use creativity tools and techniques before you start anything important – a proposal, a sales letter, a business strategy.
Find out what works best for you. By placing creative processes at the forefront of your routine and new projects, you stand a much better chance of producing outstanding, profitable results.
1. Evaluate your projects. Make a list. Prioritise your top three projects.
2. Take your most important project and freewrite for 10 minutes on ideas to create more value. Or, if you don’t have time to look up what freewriting is all about, just list 21 ideas fast.
3. Select your best idea and include it in your project to generate greater value.