A creative mindset requires structure and practice
1. Keep a journal of inspirational products & services
2. Create a “what makes me frustrated” list of unmet needs
Abe, a controller at a tech company, wondered if it could be different. He and his wife, a graphic artist at a product prototyping company, spent alot of time with designers. Abe was convinced that that he was not very creative; he preferred the comfort of numbers and processes.
Late one evening at a dinner party, his wife’s boss, a well-known design guru, shared a secret: Creativity is a process. He explained that Abe has domain, or specific, knowledge about certain subjects. Abe should use this expert knowledge to look for unsolved needs and solve them in new ways, perhaps from another area. His wife’s boss suggested that he keep a notebook of unsolved needs and inspirations. Enthused, Abe thought he could let his mind wander when he did his daily running.
Eli, a plumber, needed a change. Since 2009, business had fallen off dramatically. The business had changed and there were lots of plumbers in the resort town in which he lived. Most of his friends shrugged when he asked for advice. Recently, he rode his Harley-Davidson to a motorcycle rally. That day, strangers were kind and he picked up tidbits on motorcycles and life. On the long ride home, he remembered the advice about keeping your eyes open for badly solved problems and keeping notes. He had heard alot of complaints that day but none clicked. Eli committed to the idea of spending at least 30 minutes a day to look for something new.
Benny, a general contractor, wanted to do something different. The last few years had been tough. He had spent much time with his kids while his wife worked as a nurse. With the economic slowdown, he had more time to think about things. He started mountain bike riding again to get healthy. On the trail, he would meet folks with completely different backgrounds - accountants, gaming consultants and teachers. He often came up with ideas, but forgot them until he started writing notes in his contractor notebooks.
Benny kept finding himself coming back to one thing: he enjoyed playing games - board games or cards- with his kids. One day when he was playing Monopoly, he thought why not create a game where kids are racing to build a house. Benny wondered if he could create a game that is fun and teaches kids how to manage building houses.
FAQ & Resources
What if I am not really creative?
Creativity is a mindset and a process. It is true that some people are more predisposed to creative endeavours. However, even the most creative people have a process so they get work done on their uninspired days. It takes practice like everything else.
Where do I find sources of inspiration?
Depends on what you want your enterprise to do. Besides the really practical Indiegogo & Kickstarter for product and services, it could be medical journals or trade publications. It could be more general inspiration like Pinterest or Etsy or Instagram. Follow your passion on the web and in journals and magazines. Inspiration can come from anywhere.