Creative Thinking Techniques – Part 3 – It’s Just Like

3rd in a series of short blogs outlining some different creative thinking techniques that can quickly be applied in the workplace for good effect. This time we look at a technique where you relate your problem to different everyday situations or scenarios to generate some potentially new ideas or perspectives.

To demonstrate;

You the manager of a small manufacturing organisation and have been tasked with looking at ways to improve the organisations productivity and/or profitability.

To help you think creatively, you first need to generate a list of everyday or unusual activities – the more varied and random the better;

Buying a product online from Amazon
Dining at an exclusive restaurant
Buying an engagement ring
Hiring a car
Visiting a fair ground
Going on holiday…

Then, you look at each of the areas in turn and relate these back to your original problem and see if it generates any ideas…

Buying a product online from Amazon – how is Amazon organised? Could you learn from a introducing a fully centralised work process / hub that was exceptionally efficient? Could you do more business online? Is your business ultra organised and efficient? How do you interact with customers? Can you sell other peoples products or services, not just your own? Do you cross sell / up sell other relevant products or services…in real time? (Our proposals now include a small section at the end saying if you are buying that product or services…then you may benefit form these ones…).

Dining at an expensive restaurant – how do you greet a brand new customer as soon as they “walk in the door”? Do you make them feel really special, or are they just another “diner”? (You are number 47 in the new customer queue. Please complete these generic forms so we have details for your company…whatever it is. Your business is valued… ) Do you wait on them hand and foot with exceptionally attentive customer service. Every single time?

Buying an engagement ring – Do you treat every customer as a unique buyer, each with different needs and budget? Do you actually know their budget upfront? Can you maximise their spend and give best value for their personal needs? Can you tempt them into spending more for a “bigger, sparklier” service? Can they try (on) before they buy?  Do you know who the decision maker is? (Bride to be)? Is it different from the budget holder? (Groom to be). Who has the final decision? (Hopefully shouldn’t need three guesses…)

And so on…

Sometimes just changing perspective or looking at another way of doing something can take the blinkers off and open up new ideas or possibilities.
Why not give it a go. It only takes a few minutes…over a sandwich at lunchtime. And as you munch, you can maybe relate how Pret-a-Manger makes a sandwich back to your problem….

Handcrafted. Fresh, and new every single day – no sell-by dates.  Giving customers a free lunch when it is their birthday. True story. Oh the joy as a customer of such unexpected, but small delight…with a touch of creativity.

Campbell Urquhart
Managing Director

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