Monday, February 02, 2009

11 Suggestions for the next 11 Days -- Inspiration for Fast New Ideas for 2009

Although the economy is down, budgets are cut, and everyone is looking to save money, innovation is still in demand.

Here are a few suggestions to inspire new ideas from Patrick Hanlon, founder and CEO of Thinktopia, in a recent AdAge article Economic Slowdowns Demand Fast New Ideas.

1. Immersion
Immerse yourself in relevant data, reports, trends, and studies, while identifying your goals and challenges

2. Know what you need to know
Have definite outcomes in mind-knowing what you want to get out of your session will help you have a better experience and better ideas.

3. Conspire to inspire
Design a great brainstorming session by keeping PowerPoint presentations to a minimum and mixing people up for discussions and creative thinking.

4. Bring in your best people
Bring in people from all parts of your business (creative, finance, operations) for different ideas and viewpoints.

5. Bring in outside thought leaders
Bring in award-winning designers, ethnographers, trend-makers, stylists and thinkers of all kinds. They can be objective and practical and smart about your business opportunities in ways you can't.

6. The best way to innovate is to cross-pollinate
Bring in thought leaders outside your business walls too.
Example: Consider a furniture designer when looking for ideas on how to design new packaging.

7. Structure, structure, structure
Make sure everyone knows the expectations, and understands the goal of exercises

8. Simulate all the senses
Engage people in all the senses: touch, sound, taste and sight.

9. Success inspires success
Think of others who have been successful, come up with great ideas or products to kick-start thinking.

10. Think forward by thinking backward
What should you be doing right now in order to prepare for the future headed your way?

11. Think of your brand as a city or country
Do this by asking questions: What would it look like? What would people do there? What kind of music would they listen to or clothes would they wear?

Now, here's my suggestion -- take each of the suggestions and put it on your calendar. One inspiration for each of the next 11 days. Then, apply it to what you're working on that day. I'll check back in after 11 days to see how it went for us.

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