November 23, 2012
Liz published this at 7:23 am
Why Letting Your Inner Child Out Can Benefit Your Business
How many times have you watched your son or daughter’s imagination shine as they play with their friends or by themselves? Children are incredible dreamers and creators who have no inhibitions about letting creativity dictate their actions. To me, entrepreneurship is synonymous with creativity. People often talk about business and art as if the two couldn’t be more separate, but both celebrate the value of looking at the world a little differently than everyone else. The best entrepreneurs see possibility and opportunity where others have failed to, because they’re able to spot unique and powerful ideas that will resonate with consumers. Developing and celebrating your creative energy can benefit your business in countless ways.
I’ve spent the past twenty years bringing my product ideas to life. Thinking creatively has helped me invent and innovate, but even more importantly, I’d argue, it has helped me problem solve. Business owners are constantly surprised by new and different conflicts to overcome. You’ll never be able to predict them all. The more comfortable you become with quickly brainstorming solutions, the better your business will be. There’s never just one answer. And that’s why being able to think outside the box when your business is faced with a seemingly impenetrable roadblock is important. Somewhere along the way most of lose the ability to dream and imagine as easily as we did as children; being able rekindle these skills will help your business.
3 Ways to Recharge Your Business Creativity
I don’t believe that certain individuals are inherently more creative than others. The belief that ‘you’re just not creative’ is an excuse. We’re all creative! As children, we’re all able to dream and imagine with abandon. But like any other skill, creativity requires practice, commitment, and inspiration. I’ve found that playing games helps recharge my creativity.
The first one is, ‘What If?’ When I try to imagine new product ideas or encounter a problem in my daily life, I allow myself to ask any question I want to. What if we lived in a world that __? What if I were able to __? There are no right or wrong questions (nor answers!). I remember my own three children asking me question after question when they were little. Questions lead to answers, answers lead to more questions, and creative juices flow during the process!
The second game I play I call, ‘Mix and Match’. I combine several ideas together, even if they don’t seem to make immediate sense. Someone really hit the nail on the head when they matched a camera and phone, after all…. Some of the best ideas actually combine existing concepts or products in interesting ways. Think about all the times you’ve watched your son or daughter play with their toys in unique ways. They are no strangers to mixing and matching to make things new and exciting.
The third creative game I use is called ‘Solve It’. What do you wish was made better? What would you do to change it? Some products and services have been around for so long, we no longer even think about what it would be like if they were different. Don’t take any assumptions for granted, and stop subconsciously assuming what is and isn’t possible.
And finally, don’t forget to get inspired. Seek out friends, family, and peers who, like loved and empowered children, believe that anything’s possible and embrace the alternative. Some people are more receptive to new ideas than others. At the least, find someone whose first word isn’t always ‘no’.
Break out of your normal mold and schedule. How can you imagine something different and unique if you always do and see the exact same things? Change your route to work. Try a new restaurant instead of your neighborhood favorite. I know your schedule is hectic, but make time to read a new book or magazine, or watch an interesting film. Exposing yourself to new ideas and ways of thinking will jumpstart your own creativity.
Above all, allow your creative inner child to emerge to help bring your business to new heights.
What do you do to inspire your creativity?
Thank you, Steven. Love your thoughts on inspiring creativity!
–Me “Liz” Strauss