The real hurtle is that in business, and in life, we’re often confined to operating within certain constraints. It’s called being “normal”. People will tell you to think outside the box, but when it comes to actually stepping outside that box …
Radical change requires radical action. It’s time to push your keyboard to the side and learn some serious brainstorming techniques to get the ideas flowing:
- Go big. I use a pen and a simple pad of lined paper to organize my day most of the time. But when I really need to whip up a storm I have an 18″ x 24″ artists pad to scribble over. Think “whiteboard”. Think “that wall looks pretty bare”.
- Take it to the street. Get yourself some chalk and find yourself a bare piece of asphalt (preferrably traffic-free) and start crafting ideas.
- Wage a table-top war. 50 bucks will get you a trunk load of little green army men. Set ’em up on the boardroom table and game out how you’re going to storm the market.
- Oxygenate your team. Pull out the football and hit the field. Make it a rule to only discuss business, not plays. The game is just a conduit to get the blood pumping and the ideas flowing.
- Take a field trip. One of my favorites. Visit your competition, your suppliers, or your point of sale and chat up a storm. You will get amazing ideas from the outside and instantly see how you can incorporate them and make them even better.
- Captains log. Grab a video camera and start recording/acting out your ideas and bring a supporting cast with you. A camera changes the whole tone and has a way of bringing out everyone’s inner superstar. And even Captain Kirk didn’t have a video log.
- Go barefoot in the park. Just loosen up. Take off your shoes and walk through the grass. Or the creek. Or the waves on the seashore. Scan the sky or the horizon and just let your mind wander into new territory.
The key here is that when you’re stuck, new ideas won’t solve your problem. You already know you need new ideas. It’s how to get them that’s the problem.
And for that you need to get out and find a different approach. Now, up in the right hand corner of your computer you’ll see a little button that says IO.