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.)
Here is the Lather, Rinse, Repeat approach to coming up with ideas…
Amp yourself up and get psyched for a brainstorm session on your topic. Devour books, articles, websites, movies, magazines, YouTube videos, etc. on whatever topic you plan to ideate on. Then, armed with your favorite caffeinated beverage, set a timer for 15-30 minutes and rush to wring every single concept from your mind on the subject. Do a complete creative purge of every idea in your brain. Act with a frenzied passion to scribble down a massive amount of ideas before the timer runs out. Work as though your life depended on it. Basically, work yourself into a Lather.
Once the timer goes off — come to a complete a full stop.
Quit. Don’t think about it anymore.
Now go away and do something completely unrelated for 30-40 minutes. Set the alarm on your phone and Rinse away all thought of the previous topic and session by washing away the frenzy with unrelated activity:
Listen to music
Go for a walk
Watch a movie
Go read internet memes
Draw some cartoons
Read some silly Tweets
When the alarm goes off, it’s time to Repeat the original effort of doing a mad scrabble to capture every idea you can on the original topic — only this time without the benefit of immersing yourself in on-topic research. Now you’re working against the clock to generate ideas on the original topic based upon wherever your mind takes you after your “rinse cycle”.
Now is the time for ideas based on metaphor and those concepts that come out of left field (because you might have been actually been playing left field in a game of dodge-ball!) Work with the same fervor you did in the original session, work with the same deadline of writing down as many ideas as you can within a fixed time frame — but now your ideas will be fueled by different context, and that means you will come up with different creative solutions.
They’ve just been paying attention to their customers.
Want to read the minds of YOUR customers? Here are a few tips to help you.
1. Wish List
Amazon allows users to keep multiple list of things they want in the future. Create a Wish List on behalf of your client in regard to their industry, personal goals, and things they want in doing business with your company. When your client or prospect tells you about something outside the ordinary course of conversation, jot it down and keep it in a file. It might be about a business problem they’re encountering or their desire to expand into a new area of focus. Add the information to your file and see if you can do some research to learn more about it. At the very least keep it on your radar so you can prick up your ears should the topic come up again.
2. Past Purchases Amazon’s strength is that they keep a record of everything you purchased in the past. If they know you buy every super hero movie that gets released on DVD, it’s a safe bet you’re going to buy the next movie when it’s released. Adding your name to the pre-release buyer list is no great leap of precognition. What about your customers? Do you know what they are apt to buy because they favored the same type of purchase in the past?
3. Also Bought
Amazon increases its sales exponentially simply by tracking other items that people buy with their primary purchase. Now they can predict (through technology and statistics, not telepathy) what other customers might buy if they purchase just one thing for which they have a buyer record. If you have a client who buys Product A, does it make sense that they’d also benefit from owning Product D? It’s the perfect type of thing to offer as an add-on sale or project upgrade.
The primary reason it appears Amazon can read minds is that they care about what their customers think.
You may not realize there is a difference between Ideas and Creativity, but there is.
Ideas are the seemingly random flashes of inspiration and genius.
Creativity is finding the valuable links between those ideas and connecting them to forge a chain that is greater than the sum of its parts.