As you may have guessed from some recent blog posts, I’ve spent some time on the west coast during the past couple months and many ideas were spawned by that seaside setting — like this one about creativity and ocean waves.
While walking along the beach watching the waves come crashing into rocks and wash across the shore, I was struck by the concept that creative inspiration and brainstorming are much like waves. They can be a violent and overwhelming deluge of concepts that serve to disorient and turn you upside down by dumping a ton of ideas on your mental shores all at once.
There are two ways to take advantage of this flood of inspiration:
SOAK or SURF.
Let the concepts wash over you and complete drench you in the rising tidal waters of ideas. Absorb as much and as many of the concepts as possible while the waves inevitable begin to recede back into the ocean from which they came. Search your mental shores for what was left behind. Just as the real ocean leaves shells, shiny stones, perhaps even pirate treasure on the sand at the water’s edge, so to does a wave of ideas leave behind shells of greater ideas, shiny concepts to explore, and hidden treasures to uncover.
Surfers paddle out into the ocean and watching for swells (rising wind forces that create wave energy) that are promising enough to ride back into the shore. One of the types of waves most sought after by experienced surfers are called Tubing waves. Tube Waves (also called Plunging Waves) are generated when a swell rolls through deep water and then hits a much more shallow area. To an Idea Guy this means a really unrealistic and far-out concept that begins to gain momentum in your mind as your brain finds a way to put it into action in the shallower waters of reality. When you find a concept that you can ride all the way into shore because what started out as crazy dream can actually manifest as reality — that’s Idea Surfing.
Some people go out of their way to “not reinvent the wheel”.
“Let’s not reinvent the wheel” is a pretty common phrase in meetings.
It’s used as a statement of intent not to over invest in time, labor, money or creativity in order to get something done.
But sometime’s it’s worthwhile to reinvent the wheel
Take a look at the early computer mouse.
It’s a series of reinvented wheels that are driven by a rotating ball.
Fast forward a few years and the mouse carried a new wheel on top that allowed you to scroll vertically by simply rotating the wheel.
Think back to the very first generation iPod — Apple reinvented the wheel as a navigational tool and MP3 players were never the same again.
The wheel is reinvented everyday in every industry.
The companies that create new wheels create new jobs, new technology, new connections (and a whole lot of new money.)
About five years ago I discovered SlideShare and decided to upload a couple of my older slide presentations along with a version of my book “100-Whats of Creativity“. Every so often SlideShare sends me an email with a running count of views they’ve received and at one point the SlideShare version of my book earned me a ‘top-viewed’ status and it was featured on the front page of their website for a day.
47,000+ times people have interacted with my written content.
47,000+ times they’ve viewed my philosophy of business creativity.
47,000+ times they’ve interacted with my thoughts and ideas.
Gaining those views got me on the front page of the SlideShare website with other “most viewed” decks from thought leaders around the world — not bad company to be in.
In 2012 LinkedIn bought SlideShare for $119 million dollars. In my opinion it was a great decision, as SlideShare is an ideal platform for sharing business presentations and ideas in the most common of professional formats — the slide presentation. As a result, SlideShare players can easily added to your LinkedIn profile and people viewing your profile can easily click-through a few slides containing your thoughts and views on the way you do business and the ways you serve your customers.
You’re not doing this? Why not?
SlideShare is free to use in its basic form (pay an upgrade to unlock additional features) and allows the import of slide decks you already have in a variety of formats (including PDF and PPT). Embedding a SlideShare presentation on your website or blog is as easy as embedding a YouTube video (and who doesn’t know how to do THAT these days?) Incorporating your SlideShares into LinkedIn is even easier, and I recommend add 2 or 3 to help people researching you or your company learn more about you, faster and easier than checking 10 different websites.
Ideas for content to upload to SlideShare:
Your service philosophy – how you serve your customer.
Your business philosophy – why you do what you do.
Customer testimonials – happy customers that are happily doing business with you.
Product guides – information about individual products/services (one deck per product).
User guides – if there’s a manual, make it a SlideShare deck.
Ideas for using your product/service.
Industry whitepaper – you’ll get more views than just putting it on your website.
Your book (or free chapters) – I know having my book on SlideShare raised awareness of the title and sold more copies.
Your resume – looking for a job? Create a non-traditional resume of your professional skills.
Your portfolio – If you’re a photographer, graphic designer, or artist; having your work on SlideShare will get it seen by more people.
Are YOU using SlideShare?
Share some of the ways you’re using the site to win business and raise awareness of your work in the comments below — and don’t forget to connect with me on SlideShare!
I am a very big fan of scribbling ideas and jotting notes and scrawling diagrams on napkins. Putting the tip of a rollerball pen to a napkin just seems to foster my creative spirit.
The napkin is an informal method of sharing an idea or making plans. It usually means you’re in a casual location (diner, coffee shop, bar) and having a friendly (vs. “professional”) conversation with a client or prospect who isn’t checking their watch every 3 minutes to see if it’s too early to escape your pitch.
Scribbling on napkins is an easy way to communicate an idea to the person you’re speaking with. If you can explain an idea through text or images drawn on a napkin — it’s too complicated.
Over the years I’ve collected a few idea/napkin themed resources and I wanted to share them with you via the links below. If you can’t remember all the names… just jot them down on a napkin.