Creativity techniques can generate fresh ideas to thrive. As you look ahead, a dose of imagination could help you stay competitive and find new ways to grow and succeed.
We’ve gathered a few proven creativity ‘hacks’ to bring life to your annual planning. You could apply them to any area of business, from streamlining your processes and improving your products or services to spotting untapped income sources or cost savings within your operations. With these techniques, you may even discover new ways to reach and engage customers and stand out from your competitors.
Scamper gives your thinking an alternative focus
‘SCAMPER’ is a creative thinking technique for businesses that considers specific ways to innovate an existing approach or product. SCAMPER is an acronym created with the prompts that make up the stages of the technique.
- S = Substitute
- C = Combine
- A = Adapt
- M = Modify (Also Magnify and Minify)
- P = Put to another use
- E = Eliminate
- R = Rearrange
To use the SCAMPER technique, you simply work through each prompt for your focus of innovation. For example, if you were to consider taxis, you might ‘Substitute’ taxi companies with private individuals (Uber) or ‘Combine’ taxi services and restaurant food (Uber Eats).
Constraints allow us to push boundaries safely
Another fun technique for innovation is to create theoretical constraints. Constraints force you to think in new and different ways but help to narrow the focus. Unexpected and novel ideas can come when your constraints push your thinking in an unusual way.
For example, you may try to imagine how you could be a successful accommodation brand without owning a single property – Airbnb. Examples of other constraints you could try are to remove human labour, or any technology.
Brainstorm – together
Collaborative brainstorming brings all the benefits of diverse thinking. You may wish to involve your Business Mentor, staff from different levels within the team or customers. Brainstorming works best when you start by aiming for quantity rather than quality of ideas. Don’t judge or qualify what’s contributed until you’ve got everything down – wild, wacky and wonderful. Then, you can take the best ideas and apply critical thinking to develop them.
Create an environment that supports your thinking
Looking after yourself will help you be at your creative best. Creative thinking can be a mentally demanding process. It's worth taking regular breaks to give your brain a chance to rest and recharge.
A comfortable environment can help you focus and be more productive. Make sure you minimise distractions from cell phones, external noise or other interruptions. Water and healthy snacks can keep your body and brain nourished. Whiteboards, coloured pens and sticky notes can help people visualise and share their ideas.
Finally, set goals and a time limit for your creative thinking session to keep you on track and motivated. Ensure that everyone shares an understanding of these things before you get started. If you've managed to gather a bigger group, consider having a facilitator. They can take responsibility for timing and progress, so you can put your full attention on coming up with brilliant brainwaves.
Creativity always deserves a place in the skills you build for business success. When you're looking at the big picture, techniques such as the SCAMPER method, constraints and collaborative brainstorming are a good place to start.
If you really want to take your business to the next level, a Business Mentor can also provide a fresh perspective, along with a wealth of knowledge and experience. They can help you look at new approaches and consider how to implement them effectively. With their support, perhaps it’s time to ignite your creativity for growth and success.