In this marketing blog post we’ll look at what kinds of things that might be blocking your creativity.
The Three things that can get in your way and block your creativity are:
- Your Perceptions
- Your Emotions
- Your Culture & Environment
Perceptions. – What things MEAN to you?
Like…. Stereotypes. Or having a Limited Vision Or being set in your ways with Habits that might keep you stuck in old patterns. What about your perception of Tradition VS. Change? Are traditions keeping you stuck?
Or your Emotions – How do you FEEL?
Does it bother you to look like a fool? Do you fear taking risks? Are you afraid make a mistake or fail? Real problem solving and idea creation is messy.
When you change your thoughts and change your actions and you’ll get better results.
Cultural & Environmental Blocks might be…. Other People’s Opinions… Lack of cooperation and trust among colleagues or co-workers. And then there’s Distractions – phone calls, and easy intrusions. All of these things can block your creativity…
Have you ever had a big idea that you didn’t take action on… Maybe it was your Perceptions or emotions that got in your way… Well, it almost happened to me…
In 1986, I invented a product line that was used to store bicycles inside your home or apartment… Maybe you’ve seen them in the Sky Mall Magazines on airplanes, in Sharper Image, sporting goods stores or other specialty catalogs…. The main line was hand-crafted from solid Oak and was a tension-mount system that went from Floor-to-Ceiling, to hold 2 bikes in a limited space, protecting your bikes and your home.
In the beginning, I tried several different ways to get the product to market. It was a tough first year and I thought about quitting many times. I can assure you that my own perceptions, emotions and my environment got in the way more than just a few times… but through creativity and innovation, and using the mindset tools we’re going to be exploring today, I was able to sell over 28 million dollars worth of product in just a few short years…
I’ve used these same tools, again and again to help clients differentiate themselves in a competitive market; to launch innovative publicity campaigns; to build websites and online marketing strategies that created virtual money-machines; to design new advertising concepts, and improve many other areas of their businesses, even beyond the marketing department. These are proven tools that YOU can start to apply immediately…
Think about your business… Products… or Services… Are you truly doing everything you can to find, attract and keep your customers?
Are you allowing self-imposed limitations to hold you back? It’s time to breakthrough those limitations, use your resources, and expand your creativity. You deserve it!
Wow, Might seem like a lot to think about, but actually, it’s all about your B.S…
Your Belief System can either get your way or launch you to success.
I’ve used the tools I’m about to share with you to help organizations in many different industries around the globe achieve amazing improvements in their marketing results and you can use them too.
You may be familiar with some of these techniques, but I’m sure you’ll have a new appreciation for them as they apply to your marketing strategies!
Have you ever heard of Idea-mapping or Mind-Mapping? It’s one of my favorite creativity tools! Idea Mapping is a simple technique you can use to capture and organize your thoughts and Ideas visually on one page.
Idea Maps are especially helpful for Brainstorming to help you think up new and creative ideas more quickly and easily. Here’s how you get started…
Take out a blank piece of paper with out lines. You want it without the lines because the lines can restrict the natural flow of your thoughts. Turn the paper landscape… with the long side of the paper at the top.
Next, in the center of the page, draw an image or print the words that represent your main theme, concept or topic that you want to brainstorm. For example, you might start with “ideas for New products” or “How to sell product X”…
State it in the form of a question… who, how, what, why?… you decide. Allow plenty of white space for the rest of the map. I like to have a few colored pens available too because color stimulates the brain and helps captures attention.
At first, your Idea maps might be pretty simple branches with lines and a few words and that’s okay… As you practice, you’ll become more creative and you’ll find this to be a fast way to capture and generate new ideas. This will also help you create new connections between ideas and concepts.
A picture really is worth a 1000 words! It stimulates the brain to think up new associations, it focuses the thoughts and it results in much better recall of the content at a later date. So draw pictures to represent your ideas. They can be simple stick figures, sketches, symbols…what ever makes sense to you. The brain works by association so by connecting the main branches to the central topic, the brain links those elements together.
The main branch words and images stimulate other thoughts and associations. They allow the random flow of your thoughts as you add other levels of thought. So make the central lines from the center thicker, curved and organic (like the branch of a tree attached to the trunk) to help organize your sub-themes.
Start to add a second level of thought. These words and/or images are linked to the main branch that triggered them. Add more branches and levels of thought as ideas come to you. Feel free to jump from branch to branch as the mood strikes you.
Remember, You can use:
- Line drawings
- Shapes, boxes, circles
- Colors, etc…
I encourage you to use this new tool. Use it in meetings, sales presentations, and of course when you are planning your marketing strategies. While I started out drawing most of my idea-maps, now I also us mind-mapping software called “MindManager from www.mindjet.com. There are several others too, but don’t think that you need to get software… Start right away using paper and pen to open your mind and expand your creativity. I’m sure that you’ll quickly see how using idea mapping can help you and your team!
I’ve explained how Idea mapping can work for brainstorming… and I’m sure that most of you are already familiar with the concept of brainstorming…but just to make sure, here is a quick review of the rules for GROUP BRAINSTORMING:
- Set a time frame… generally the shorter the better… like 15 to 30 minutes max!
- The Goal is to collect as many ideas as possible from all participants with no criticisms or judgments made while ideas are being generated.
- All ideas are welcome no matter how silly or far out they seem. Be creative. The more ideas the better because at this point you don’t know what might work.
- Absolutely no discussions during the brainstorming session. Talking about the ideas will take place after brainstorming session is complete.
- Do not criticize or judge the other people’s ideas. Seriously….Don’t even groan, frown, or laugh. If you do… you’ll hamper the creative process.
- Write all ideas on a flipchart or white board so the whole group can easily see them.
Here’s a great tip! If you’re in an organization that’s had trouble with brainstorming, either because of certain people, egos or office politics, or have trouble in getting a large list of ideas, then I suggest you send out a memo before the meeting with the main brainstorming topic or question?
Ask them to print their ideas on paper as a requirement to the meeting, or you can use post-it notes during the session, so people can participate anonymously.
Let’s talk about making your final selections.
- When all the ideas have been recorded–combine ideas as much as possible,
- Next, Vote to select the best 3 to 5 ideas.
Let’s review what we’ve covered so far…
That it’s your mindset that determines the actions you’ll take.
Without action… you can’t improve your results. Why improving your creativity helps your mindset as well as your business. We discussed removing the mental blocks that get in your way… like certain perceptions, emotions and your environment. And then how to use “idea-mapping” and brainstorming basics to stimulate your mind!
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