Use your creative imagination to drive innovation.
It’s my belief all entrepreneurs are completely and totally creative! Entrepreneurs create value where there was previously no value perceived. Now that’s creativity!
When I use the word “creative”, I am not meaning activity exclusively tied to artistic endeavors. Everything there is, at first, was created in the formless imagination before it became a physical reality. Your business is a creative sandbox for you to play in–that’s why I like to use the term creative business. Naturally as an entrepreneur you are creating everyday to grow your business. You’re creating innovative products or services that add more value to people. You realize that you must create value for others first before new opportunity will come to you in the form of more paying customers.
There are two parts to value creation: the inner formless idea in your creative imagination, and its physical manifestation in reality. If you can create something in your mind, you can experience it in the physical. Your creative imagination is the source of all value innovation in your business.
Using your creative imagination is critical to your growth and success.
Your creative imagination is visual. When you “see” an idea in your mind’s eye, it is as if you are watching a movie on the screen of your mind. Your creative imagination is the place where you form mental pictures of things and circumstances that you have not yet experienced. Your ability to develop the skill of using your creative imagination is the most important attribute for creating value for people. Of course, you need to have a compelling vision of what you want to create in your business. When you visualize an idea, what you are really doing is accessing the rich resources of your sub-conscious mind. When you believe an idea is possible – you will see it!
Daydreaming is a powerful tool for innovation. To be effective at tapping into the creative power of your sub-conscious, you must create a space in your conscious mind. There are many techniques for doing this, but the one I find most useful is daydreaming. Let your mind go–play aimlessly with your ideas without self-judgment. Let an idea take its own form in your mind without you trying to force it into form, or aligning its value to conventional wisdom. Play! If you can allow yourself time to daydream, you’ll be inspired and feel as though you’re being guided to see opportunity where others may not.
Intuition is the white hot center of your creative power. Intuition can best be described as your inner wisdom and understanding unrelated to experience or reasoning. Intuition can be compared to a “sixth sense”, an ability to know instinctively what course of action is best to embark on. Intuition is the guide of your creative imagination. Can you learn to more effectively use your intuitive powers? Absolutely! Intuition is not a special talent or gift that only the lucky few possess.
Before you can use your natural intuitive gift for innovation, you have to trust it! This might explain why some people seem to attract more opportunity than others. These are the people who trust their gut and simply go with it. If you want to tap into game changing ideas for creating value for people, you have to trust your intuition. Think about this– your intuition led you to choose to be an entrepreneur right? Apple founder, Steve Jobs describes the process of innovation as “putting a dent in the universe”. Your intuition will lead your creative imagination to your best ideas–just get out of your own way and let it be so.
Creative ideas don’t have to be original or perfect. Nothing impedes progress more than the pursuit of perfection.
Many entrepreneurs put undue pressure on themselves to develop original ideas. In my experience, there is nothing new under the sun. Every ground-breaking innovation that ever was came as a result of what came before it. For example, someone invented windshield wipers because people wanted to drive their car in the rain. Then a few years later, someone had the idea that intermittent wiper blades would be a better solution. Many times useful ideas are incremental. You don’t have to create a revolution to create value.
Many entrepreneurs also worry needlessly that they haven’t perfected their ideas. No idea is ever perfect. When you have an idea, go ahead and build a prototype or two, tinker with it and experiment with what works, make refinements as necessary, but by all means get it out there! You can always improve on a good idea. Let the market help you improve it. Originality and perfection, in my opinion, are overrated and often get in the way of innovation and value creation.
Here are some suggestions you may want to daydream about in your creative imagination:
Identify opportunities in the market that you have not noticed before.
Discover profitable niche markets where your capabilities can serve people better.
Discover innovative ways to position yourself and your company as the recognized expert and specialist in your particular field.
Discover new customer applications for your products or services.
Create a distinctive brand identity and packaging for your products and services that differentiate you from your competitors.
Create compelling marketing ideas to dramatize the use of your product or service.
Provide innovative solutions to problems your customers experience by approaching them from an entirely new and different perspective.