Is This The Way Its Always Been Done?

Let's face it, we all tend to get stuck in doing things 'the way they've always been done', and creating products, or services, in a similarly conservative mode.

But there is another way. Why not take a new look at your business. Take the opportunity to have regular creative thinking sessions in order to break the mould. Just one session could start off a new trend.

The best way to do this is to organise a group of your own people, friends, customers, and anyone else you think can contribute, to sit round a table with you, for an hour, and literally set out to think creatively on the problem of the day.

Throw in a few sandwiches and coffee to kill two birds with one stone, by doing it at lunch-time. This is absolutely ideal for this purpose. Even introduce a little competition to encourage people to take part.

The first and most important decision you have to make, is to define the problem you want to solve, clearly and briefly. Thus, for example, you may be looking for a new service or product, which you can launch from the same premises, with the same basic overhead that your current operation already has. Or, you may be looking to name a new product line. Whatever it is, make sure you can define the problem simply and clearly before starting.

Having presented the problem to your ad hoc group, you ask them to come up with as many ideas as possible, including seemingly crazy ideas. Make sure that no criticism of any idea is allowed and that everyone understands you want as many ideas as possible.

Finally, get the ideas written up after the meeting, and circulated to everyone who participated, asking them first whether they have any further ideas, which have come to mind since the meeting. Secondly, whether any of the enclosed ideas could be combined together to make another idea.

You will be astonished how many good ideas come out of such meetings, and how many problems can be solved using this simple, but very effective technique.

If you are not sure how to go about brainstorming, as it is sometimes called, then there are plenty of useful sites on the Internet. I prefer to look at it, more as creative thinking, than a task.

Some ideas to help generate creative thoughts are:

1. Wishful Thinking Technique

By dreaming of your ideal situation or solution, you can often come up with something, which can have a similar effect, but in a more practical, and realistic way.

2. Random Word Technique

This is the most basic and creative technique, where you use a random word to generate new ideas. By taking a random word and forcing yourself to use it to solve your problem, you are practically guaranteed to attack the problem from a different direction to normal.

3. False Rules Technique

You take a rule, quote, idea or suggestion from somewhere else, and apply it to your own situation. It is known as a "false rule" because the rule has not been considered as valid before. By getting a false rule and forcing yourself to use it, you find yourself thinking about doing things in a different way than you would normally.

4. Analogy Technique

You use an analogy, or metaphor, of your own situation to find out how similar situations are solved in other fields. Analogies are very good for discovering things you had not realized about your own situation and thus enable you to develop solutions based upon them.

5. Role Play Technique

The best way of changing the way you see the world, is to see it from someone else's point of view. This technique allows you to change your perspective by getting you to be a different person and see how they would approach the problem There are several other techniques that can also be used to stimulate the group for ideas.

Why not try out some of these ideas, and drive your business forward in a different direction, or have another arrow to your bow.

Does it always have to be the same way as it has always been?

Bill Ritchie helps with developing home based businesses, startups, providing business ideas, giving tips on Internet marketing, plus writes the occasional article. He also runs a useful, informative website.

You're welcome to reprint this article online, as long as it remains complete and unaltered, including the "About the Author" info at the end.

In The News:

Small Business and the Fight for $15  The Wall Street Journal
At SCORE, small business matters  Crain's Detroit Business
Golden supports small business  Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel
Business calendar  Chico Enterprise-Record
Asset Protection for Small Businesses  Baltimore Post-Examiner

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