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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thinking outside the box, easier said than done

Being a millennial, I have heard time and time again about the value of thinking outside of the box. But what exactly is thinking outside of the box?

The purple cow


Yes I agree that in the competitive world of business, that to gain that competitive advantage over the competition you must stand out. But it is indeed easier than done.

We are now in an era where people will do the most heinous things just to get noticed, even if it does not convert to sales or sign ups.

I can confidently say that everyone in the business of marketing their start-up is worried about thinking differently. And have found “Thinking outside the box” and attracting eyes to their business difficult at one time or another. 

Take a second and think about being different in economic terms.  If everyone is thinking outside of the box does that mean that we as a species are starting to reach a point of diminishing returns of ideas that make us different. That is to say, if the goal of a marketer is to be different, how can they truly stand out if the competition is trying to do the same thing or ends up copying your idea?

I decided to scour the internet and have accumulated a list of top brainstorming ideas that I recommend to any start-up struggling to think big. Some old, some new. But every good start-up understand that they need to constantly be testing ideas, and stay ahead of the game.


5 tips on Thinking outside of the box:

1. Be the purple cow AT ALL TIMES

If you haven’t heard of the purple cow, then you’ve been living under the rock. The purple cow is the cow in the heard that always thinks outside of the box. The purple cow is the Dennis Rodman and Steve Jobs of the group and doesn't care what other people might think about his view, but uses his differences to stand out and dominate.
This is how you should think as a leader and instill in your company. Whether it’s about product design, User experience or marketing. Be the purple cow.

2. Pitch your idea to a child

Children are some of the most honest and open minded creatures on earth. They will tell you how they feel about your idea. You shouldn't necessarily take every word they say as sound advice, but you can pick up on queues that will help you redefine your idea.

3. Go on field trips

Take you’re your core team out on business trips. As in going to see how one of your partners operates there company. Have networking sessions between your team and other company’s so they may learn and get great ideas from their peer. 
This is a super cost effective way of keeping your team excited and having them more personally invested into the company.

4. Give employees a little more leeway

Set aside a small “test budget” that allows employees to test their more radical ideas. Your most creative thinkers may be right under your nose. Many of them remain quiet because they don’t want to look silly in front of the team.
So encourage employees to constantly pitch ideas. And if they are good ideas that can be measured, then allow that employee to test the idea with small budget. There will be failures, but there will also be successes. And your employee will need this confidence to constantly innovate over time. Those who fail, will learn from those failures.

5. Limit ideas in your brainstorming session

Yes during your brainstorming sessions, you will go through a variety of methods to makes something better or attract more eyes. However, there will be dozens of idiotic ideas and you will need to quickly strike out the ideas that are downright silly. But allow any employee who feels strongly about that idea to voice their opinion. 
Then strike it down or give it another chance. Please no voting at this stage, you as the leader need to make the best decisions you can for the company.

Take these tips and run with them. Make them your own and fight to stay outside of the box.

If you agree, then share this post.

If you disagree, well then screw you. Just kidding, still share this post and persuade me otherwise.