It's one thing to think of new ideas when your brain is on a creative roll, but what about those days when you're completely stuck?
Sounds great, Katie... but how do you do that?
Many times, people recommend going to a different place, doing something daring that you've never done before, or letting your hair down and playing games like a child. But while I love a good ball crawl and long to go on a creative get-away, sometimes it's necessary to be creative without leaving your everyday routine.
So, here's my suggestion for getting fresh ideas everyday: Learn some creativity techniques!
Try Lateral Thinking, get a Whack on the Side of the Head, or bring out the ThinkerToys. And it's not cheating. There will always be ideas that jump out of nowhere, but it's a lot easier and more productive to use creativity tools to jump-start your thinking!
Here's an example of how one creativity technique can bring up new ideas and start your thinking in another direction.
What you'll probably think about first:
Unsurprisingly, your brain is probably jumping automatically to the ways car companies already improve cars. Something like improving the handling of the car, or giving it a bigger engine, or making the interior more luxurious, or similar things.
The problem is, everyone has those same ideas and unless you can think of something completely new, you won't gain any advantage over your competitors.
Now, I'll show you how the Random Word Technique, one Lateral Thinking tool, can open up new possibilities.
The Challenge: Improve the Car.
Random Word: Frog
Sounds completely ludicrous, right? How can thinking of a frog help you to think of ways to improve a car?
- Except then you might start thinking about how some African frogs can change sex. What if you had a car inside that could be customized even more exactly to genders of your customers?
Or maybe the car could be customized for their lifestyles? Suddenly you have many more add-ons that you could sell for a premium, and the potential of a marketing slogan like "your car, your style".
- Or maybe your mind went to how frogs jump. What if the car had the ability to jump over traffic? That's not physically possible, or legal, but what's another way that it could be done?
Perhaps the car could instead be fitted with a traffic monitor and city map that can direct you to non-busy roads. That's now possible with Google Maps.
- Also, frogs change from tadpoles to adult frogs. That could lead to two ideas right off the bat...
- What if you had a car that was able to change size? Many people buy larger vehicles because they need to haul things occasionally. Yet they mostly drive around as the only passenger in their car.
What if the car had a stylish attachment for when the driver needs more space--that could be taken off when it's not needed and the driver wants to conserve gas?
- OR, what if the car could change from childlike to grown-up? Many parents let their 16 year olds drive their cars.
What if there was some sort of parental control (that could be enabled by parents) that didn't allow the car to go above a certain speed and allowed the parent to monitor where their kid had been? Or how else could a car change ages?
- Another thought: frogs are amphibians and some amphibians change colors. What if you had designed a car that was able to change color?
This could perhaps be done with heat-sensitive paint so the driver would be able to judge the temp of the car just by looking at it.
Or perhaps the car could use some sort of image technology that the driver could use to change the color according to their moods ("I think I want a blue car today."), or car dealers could even create at service at the car dealership to help customers customize the outside of their car without going to a separate painter.
- Frogs also catch flies, swim, climb windows, croak/sing and ( sometimes) turn into princes. What ideas come from those?
That's just one creativity technique, and I was able to come up with all those ideas in just 10 minutes. Of course, not all of them are actually viable--but they do expand thinking in a new direction. It's no longer about handling, speed, or luxurious interiors!
Plus, this whole process can be repeated with a completely different random word to head off in another direction. It's very amazing how many different ideas our brains can come up with when they get a nudge in a new direction!
Please share your own ideas based off this word, and come back tomorrow. I'm holding a creativity contest and there's a prize!