My friend Terry over at Powercore (nice new website by the way!) passed along a great article on Innovation. Apparently in Japan it’s not just the trains that are super crowded, it’s also the grocery stores. And in those crowded stores they don’t have room for watermelons…unless somehow…they can stack them!
So they developed square watermelons! As you can see, the solution wasn’t too hard once they accepted it was possible – simply grow the watermelon inside a square box. A very elegant solution to an unusual problem.
You can find the article (along with some more pictures) here – the author does a nice job writing up the story and makes some great points about innovating and improving your thought process. I especially liked this quote:
Get into the habit of asking yourself, “Is there a better way I could be doing this?” and you will find there often is.
Creativity is critical to business success, but all too often it’s assumed to only relevant to Marketing and PR components. Granted it’s great to have a creative marketing piece, but coming up with a creative solution to an expensive business process could drastically improve your business and your bottom line.
There’s some debate whether creativity is an innate trait or something you can learn, but my view is that although some people are gifted, everyone is capable of being creative.
A big part of learning and improving your creativity is being open to possibilities and challenging yourself for solutions – as mentioned above “Is there a better way I could be doing this?”.
In Doug Hall’s book Jump Start Your Business Brain, he outlines the 3 laws of Capitalist Creativity – how to come up with business ideas.
- Explore Stimuli – feed your brain with multisensory stimuli that are both related and unrelated to your challenge.
- Leverage Diversity – the greater the diversity of opinions and perspectives you gather, the more effective you will be in creating ideas that can truly grow your business.
- Face Fears – Fear directly destroys your ability to create and craft new ideas.
He covers 4 good sized chapters with ideas and processes to leverage these 3 laws, but even without that background you can benefit from the concepts.
Explore Stimuli – it’s important to be aware and on the lookout for inspirations. One of the reasons I’m writing this blog is because it drives me to look for ideas to write about, to get exposed to new things, which in turn hopefully makes me more creative.
Leverage Diversity – this is why it’s critical to surround yourself with people that will challenge you. In the corporate world, you could always spot the executive that only had a team of ‘Yes’ people. They were never able to contribute any new ideas because they didn’t have any. This is where a Peer Group Advisory Board can be invaluable – you know, like BANG!
Face Fears – This is closely related to the power of positive thinking. If you get too wrapped up in the thought process that I have to come up with a new marketing idea or my business is going under, then you are well and truly up a creek. Easier said than done, but I definitely agree that a fearful approach will shut you down creatively.
What do you do to spark new ideas, improve what you’ve got or think outside the box (or perhaps inside the box as the Watermelon farmers did)? Share your ideas here!
Shawn Kinkade www.aspirekc.com