For some people, being creative comes very easy. For others, not so.
I think it’s something that can be learned. I think it’s a function of our curiosity, of our ability to form new connections between disparate ideas.
And like anything that can be learned, it can be improved with practice. Like how our muscle strength grows with lifting weights.
Most of the ideas we have will be rubbish. That’s okay. With practice, they will get better and come more readily. Then, before you know it, sitting in the next business meeting, you will find yourself being an idea machine!
Here are 5 Ideas that I brainstormed. They may be rubbish, they may be useful. If you want to use them, go ahead :-)
1. Ok, I’m cheating a little, I’ve written about this one before. Waterstones is the largest bookstore in the UK. In recent years, with the amazon and co disruption, Waterstones has been struggling. However, in the last year or so, a new CEO is starting to change their fortunes. How? By pushing control downstream to the individual stores. By making a store visit experiential. By utilising an in-house coffee service to entice readers to buy books and read them in-store.
Some of these Waterstones stores are massive. While a café is a good source of income, there may be a better use. See my LinkedIn post below for my idea:
2. On the Greg James show on BBC radio 1 there is a “Rage Against The Answer Machine” section, where callers rant about something. The point of the piece is to entertain listeners; however, I think there is the seed of an idea in this.
Each of us, every day, must deal with life. And in an age of connection, somewhat ironically, more and more of us find ourselves feeling alone.
We often have no one to talk to when we’re feeling down, or when we’re angry, or when we’re upset.
Abraham Lincoln used to write letters when he was angry with someone. He used to write down all the reasons he was angered and why he was right to be so. He would then place the letter in his drawer and never look at it again.
The point being, getting our limiting thoughts down or sharing them in some way is useful to allow us to move forwards unhinged. It is not a form of justification, it is a form of release. Release from the stories going around in our heads that have manifested from whatever we have interpreted to make us upset. When we get those stories out, we can begin to see them for what they are, and rebuild our thoughts accordingly.
So what about an anonymised “Problem-Line”, where you can call someone and vent your feelings, and other people can do the same with you. All details are private. The purpose of the calls being to allow the upset party to get the release they need from their limiting beliefs, in order that they can keep moving forwards.
3. In an age of constant interruption, doing deep work is difficult. We go looking for cheap shots of endorphins; the next tweet, the next like, the next Instagram picture.
In some respects, the best thing to do may be to take a break from it all completely.
So to help with our limited willpower, how about making an app that freezes access to all other apps on your smartphone except calls (in case of emergency) for a period that you specify?
In this way, even if you want to, you can’t get access to your phone to divert your attention away from your work.
4. A pay-as-you go hug service. We could all do with more real connection to people. Sometimes, a hug can be the best medicine in the world. So if you have no one to hug right now, how about a quick 2-minute hug at the pay-as-you go hug service?
5. Café food pooling and food bank service for the poor and homeless.
Pret, Nero, Eat, Starbucks, Itsu, M&S café and many more all have surplus food that they throw away every day. Food that could be used to feed people that really need it.
If it could be pooled in some way in each location, you all of a sudden have a critical mass of food. This could then be distributed from one central place in each location to poor and homeless people in desperate need of a meal. And you know what, maybe they could throw in a hot cup of coffee too! If not, add in a “pay it forward” mechanism, where the public can buy coffees for the poor and homeless at cost, in order to add more value to the food bank service.
Stylish, beautiful, adaptable clothing for people that have dressing difficulties.
Who might have dressing difficulties? Anyone! It could be someone who has arthritis, or someone feeling the effects of age, or someone with a disability. It’s easy to take for granted the little things like dressing yourself. It takes away independence and self-esteem from those that do have trouble.
What do I mean by adaptable clothing? Using clever mechanisms like hidden Velcro to secure items. Or re-designing products in a human-centric manner – like a bra that does up from the front.
And what do I mean by stylish? Well, stylish. Just because people have dressing difficulties, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be empowered to look and feel great!
Okay, I’m cheating again – this idea exists….it’s been created by my friend Katie Ellis and is called The Able Label. It’s the only company I know of helping people with dressing difficulties look stylish – recently featured in Vogue - check it out!