The Light Goes On -Sept-08
Today’s final topic in the three-part series on brainstorming focuses on using unusual combinations within your business to heighten your reach, create new ideas and develop useful strategies that take you business from “business as usual” to “business is unusually busy”.
One technique that I have used with some of my clients is Unusual Combination Brainstorming. With this method I help the client take their current situation (slow sales, needing a presence in their current marketplace or selling a brand new product) and try to match it up with a service provider, a new way to brand themselves or an exciting look that is completely unrelated to their current approach.
Think about yesterday’s example of Word Association Brainstorming. If a client needed to create a toothbrush that helped to promote better dental hygiene, I might suggest that the client think of list of items that were unrelated to the product they produce. Who knows if they would have come up with a timer, an eye chart or even a garden hose. (Just remember the unrelated item needs to help solve the problem.) What is important is that they create something different than the norm, while fulfilling the need of their customer.
Try it for yourself. Whether you’re brainstorming for a new tagline or you want to develop a product that gives you a competitive edge, take time to think about other combos, moving your business to the next level.
- Write down 5-10 items that have nothing to do with your product/service.
- Make a list of 3 providers you know that might offer those products/services you have written down.
- Determine if a partnership can be created that’s win-win for each of you.
- Ask friends, family and business associates to brainstorm with you.
- Talk to a young person, see what they can cultivate, often their young minds are much more creative that ours.
I’d love to know your thoughts about brainstorming and would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Drop me a line.
Have a great weekend-
Words are my thing.
Words make me happy. Words can bring people together. Words often bring about change. Words are powerful and when documented can impact lives for decades.
So when it comes to changing the way you do business, or solving a problem that has your company stumped, I think words are often one of the most important tools in your arsenal.
As we continue to talk about idea generation and the impact it can make on your next challenge, I bring up one of my favorite brainstorming exercises. Check out idea empowerment tool #2.
2) Apply word associations to your problem-solving tactics.
This kind of brainstorming involves using multiple lists of words to discover uncommon links that creatively communicate or solve your current business objective.
Here’s an example:
You are a company that makes toothbrushes. Many of the dentists you sell to have made the comment that their patients aren’t practicing good dental hygiene. They tell you that they would buy more toothbrushes from you if the toothbrushes made their patients want to take better care of their health. Now, could invent such a toothbrush?
Wow sounds like a tall order and a great opportunity! By using word association brainstorming, you can tackle this challenge head on, it works like this.
- Survey the problem at hand or tackle an idea your company is trying to promote (i.e. creating a new line of toothbrushes that help encourage better dental hygiene)
- Begin with a word that focuses on your challenge (i.e. Tooth, Brush, Hygiene) (see photo)
- Circle the phrase or multiple phrases that work to solve your challenge (i.e. Floss Daily, Make Convenient, How Long to Brush?, Time Yourself) (see photo)
- Join your words together and discover the power of word association brainstorming (i.e. Create a toothbrush that has a build-in dental floss dispenser and a timer to ensure a patient brushes their teeth long enough to remove build-up)
This not only works with inventing new product and service lines for your business, it’s also a great starting point for your marketing efforts. Take a look at the words you use to describe your situation. There’s probably a tagline, product name and a simple headline that you can create just from this exercise. Try it out. See what you think and let me know how it goes!
Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages