Think Inside the Box
Every book on creativity published in the last several years has encouraged us to “think outside the box.” The reality is that we all have a limited amount of time, money and other resources–boxes that limit us.
Every book on creativity published in the last several years has encouraged us to “think outside the box.” Thinking outside the box can deliver some great ideas. Unfortunately, those ideas have to be executed inside the boxes we all inhabit.
The reality is that we all have a limited amount of time, money and other resources. There are other people, such as partners or clients, who have at least some control over what we may and may not do. In The Houdini Solution (McGraw Hill, 2007), Ernie Schenck says that we should embrace those limits and use them to spark creativity. The book’s title comes from the idea that the great magician Harry Houdini did his best work when he was handcuffed, shackled and stuffed in small boxes.
You may feel that you, too, are handcuffed, shackled and stuffed in a small box when you think about the limitations you face in your business. Perhaps you believe that you do not have the budget to market your business effectively, or you lack the staff to grow your business, or you do not have time to develop creative ideas. Instead of using those limits as an excuse to do nothing, accept them and find a way to work around them.
If you do not have enough money to do things exactly as you might like, then scale back and find a way to do what you can. You may find that a simpler idea is not only cheaper to execute, it is also more effective.
Instead of hiring staff and hoping that you will generate enough new business to keep them busy, assemble a group of freelancers you can have on-call for when they are needed. Bring on an intern who can handle a variety of projects. As your business grows, you may choose to hire permanent staff members from your pool of freelancers and interns.
Have you ever noticed how much you can get done when you have a deadline? Creativity can thrive on deadlines, too. When the pressure is on, ideas flow. Schenck gives the example of the 1980s television show, MacGyver. In each episode, Richard Dean Anderson’s character would get himself out of seemingly impossible situations using whatever was handy. Although you may never have to disarm a nuclear bomb using nothing but a paper clip, modeling clay and pantyhose, learning to quickly find creative solutions will certainly help you in your business.
Do not hold out for the big idea. Big ideas can completely change your business and catapult you to new heights. But as Schenck points out, ideas do not have to be big to be good. Small ideas can often be implemented quickly and easily, at little cost. Over time, a series of small ideas can even outperform a big idea, without the disruption and risk that often accompany big ideas.
Create an atmosphere where you can be creative, and get in the habit of looking for innovative solutions. You may surprise yourself!
As the Idea Lady, Cathy Stucker helps entrepreneurs and professionals attract customers and make themselves famous. Get free marketing tips at http://www.IdeaLady.com/Posted on: April 3, 2012, by : AfricanSisters