By: Michael Mark, Founder
With trepidation, I admit I think conventionally when I imagine the place ideas come from. I think of the brain as that engine. A cold, grey, slushy place, like winter in Manhattan.
When I get stuck thinking of new ideas that propel businesses, I try to get out of my brain, to a fresh world where new ideas are waiting to be picked and juiced. Here are three avenues I take that might lead to some new ideas for you:
1) I tap into other’s minds by asking what my heroes would do with the challenge before me.
Not only great creative or strategic marketing minds we celebrate and study, but other thinkers dedicated to other disciplines – what would Walt Whitman, Hemingway or E.E. Cummings do? I use them for language stimulus. What would Steve Jobs do? He’s a design and sensibility guru. What would my sweet and tough grandmother who came from Poland and conquered America for her family do? The gutsiest person I ever met helps me conquer what momentarily appear as barriers. And, sincerely, I ask what would Jesus do here? His ability to take a challenge and overcome it with empathy and courage has great teachings. Buddha is another good one to take refuge in – seems all he did was the hardest thing the whole wide world – sit. His patience to know that stillness is the place of wonderful thoughts is proven out – 2600 years later, millions follow in his ways.
2) I imagine ideas coming from other places within me outside my brain. My heart. My muscles. My feet. My mouth. Each has a power distinct from the others – like super heroes have their own powers – Spiderman’s climbing ability to Superman’s X-ray vision, but when it comes to the Green Hornet or the Green Lantern I really can’t tell the difference. Any help here would be appreciated.
Ah, I digress… Which is another way to get out of my brain’s way – sudden detours; you never know what you will run into. So, then there are 4 places I go and that was 3.
4) I attach to emotions. I ask what is the Joy in this product or service that I am selling? What is the Fear in it? What is the Love in it? Again, loosening my brain from the constraints of the rational. Feel it and not think it.
Ideas and feelings, they say, can come from anywhere. Find those places and the back-up places to find your next ones. And know this: there are endless supplies just hanging out waiting.
5) Oh, and places that move are good, too. I like buses and trains. Please let me know if you have any good places you like to find ideas.