Use your creativity to get ideas
Take another look at everything you’ve written down. Suddenly you have many more ideas than you originally thought, hey? BUT, we’re not finished yet because there are more aspects of yourself that you can use – the most important being your creativity.
What? You don’t think you’re creative? That’s where you’re wrong. It’s not only artists who are creative, anyone can be creative – you just need to know how!
Here are a few exercises to get your creative juices flowing!
Imagine you wake up one morning and you realise you’re very hairy. Suddenly you feel like scratching your ear with your paw. You have a PAW! You scream in shock, but no scream comes out – instead you bark! Obviously you run as quickly as you can to a mirror and there you see that your suspicions were right. You’re a dog – well and truly! Golly gosh! What now?
Write down how you feel. Are you glad you ‘re a dog? Are you scared? Confused? Excited?
What would you do if you were a dog? What does everything look like to you?
Even thought this “exercise” might seem ridiculous, it will actually help you to think up new ideas. It teaches you to develop another perspective. In other words, it teaches you how other people, or in this case animals, think. To start a successful business, you must find out what your clients, in other words the people whom you’ll deliver a service to or whom you’ll sell your products to, want. If you could imagine how it feels to be dog, then you’ll also be able to imagine how it feels to be someone else.
What is a client?
These are the people to whom you want to sell a product or to whom you want to deliver a service.
What would you really like to have?
Perhaps you wish that someone would sell pizzas at your school, or maybe you and your family go on holiday and you wish you could have taken you bicycle along. Wouldn’t it have been great if someone at your holiday destination offered bicycles to hire? What else would you like someone to do?
Write down four ideas.
What do other people want?
What does your mom or dad always complain about? Maybe your mother complains that she doesn’t feel feel like going to the shops? What if there was someone who could do her shopping for her? What else? Perhaps your gran complains that she can’t see that well anymore and she misses reading her books.
Maybe someone could read books to elderly people? If you place yourself in someone else’s position, you’ll be able to think of many other ideas.
Write down four ideas:
You’re an alien and you’ve landed on earth. You climb out of your spaceship and the first thing you see is a stick on the ground. There aren’t any sticks on your planet so you have no idea what the object on the ground is. What do you think it is?
Write down as many uses for the stick as you possibly can. You must name at least five!.
For example: You could use it as a walking stick, a back scratcher, or it could be a thing which people use to talk to one another with. (An alien doesn’t know what our telephones look like!) Try to think about other silly uses!
Yes, even this silly exercise has a goal. It teaches you to think out of the box, to change the usual into something unusual. You learnt how to think differently about things and you looked anew at a stick and thought up other uses for it. This technique, to think differently, is very important if you want to start your own business.
For example: People throw away things because they consider them to be garbage, but you know of better. You know that one can make many things with other people’s garbage. And remember: Where other people see a stick, you see a back scratcher!
How can you use things, which other people throw away, to make money?
For example: You can recycle garbage. You can make new creative paper from paper that has been thrown away. Create artworks from garbage by using old cooldrink tins. Collect cooldrink caps and use them to invent a new game.
Think about the following objects and what you can do with them. Try to think of five uses for each one:
- A broken old guitar without strings
- empty baby food bottles
- toilet paper rolls
Go and look at all the ideas that you wrote down in Exercises 1 and 2 and make a list of possible ideas for businesses.
Creativity includes the ability to think up many ideas, as you’ve done previously (just go and look at your long list of ideas). But here are more ways to think up ideas.
Make two lists of different words. Try to combine words that normally would not fit together.
See if you can find interesting combinations, for example hot and shoe, CD and handbag, wire and porridge. Now take these combinations and see if they could give you an idea for a business. For example, hot and shoe – maybe you can design a new shoe that keeps your feet warm. Or maybe you can make a handbag that has space for CDs. Think a bit more – what else would you really like space for in a handbag? Maybe a cellphone holder inside the handbag. (Think what your mother would really like!)
Not all combinations will work, for example wire and porridge. But even these could give you ideas! Perhaps you can make bowls out of wire!
It is not always easy to find words for your lists. Sometimes a person just thinks of the same words over and over again. Here are a few techniques to help you to find “new”, fresh words for your lists:
- You can open a dictionary at different pages and thus find many words for your list.
- Walk around in your home and garden and look at the different things which are lying around – use them to make your list.
- Another way is through associations.
Making associations with words will not only help you to get ideas, it can also be a fun game. Grab your brother, sister, friend, mother, granddad, anyone, and do the following:
Begin with a word – any word, whatever you want – for example “cow”. The next person must then say what a cow makes them think of, for example a cow makes me think of milk. Then the next person must say what milk makes them think of. For example, milk makes me think of a cat. Cats certainly like milk. What does a cat make you think of?
An example of such a list will then look like this: game, cards, carton, scissors, cut, magazine, pictures, paint, paintbrush, water, dam, duck, egg, breakfast, bacon, pig, farm …
You can go on forever! Write down all the words that you can think of and try to see if they help you come up with ideas for a business. Put strange words together, go c crazy!
For example: This list of words made me think that one could paint eggs and put them in baskets and sell them for Easter. Maybe you can cut pictures out of magazines and make a photo frame. Or something simple: Open a stall which sells a tasty breakfast. Or make your own cards! I’m sure you can think of many more ideas!
Think up your own association list, write it down, and use it to find at least five ideas for a business.