Entrepreneurs and marketers are constantly challenged to be creative. But creativity as it is commonly thought of and practiced is sin not virtue, because it is slow and ponderous; because it begins with a blank slate. One of the most profitably creative entrepreneurs of all time, Walt Disney, said “….stop talking and begin doing.” To be profitable in the real world, creativity must be fast, decisive, practical, implementable and implemented. There’s little room for creativity for creativity’s sake.
I tend to practice “creativity cheating” – and thought I’d give you a few quick “cheats”, from the many I talked about at my one day Creative Thinking For Entrepreneurs Seminar.*
#1: STEAL AND ADAPT WHAT’S ALREADY BUILT
From Tony Baxter, Senior V.P., Creative Development/Imagineering at Disney: “For the climactic scene in the Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland, we wanted the ride vehicle to suddenly start backing up as the giant rolling boulder comes thundering toward us. Having a ride vehicle back up in the middle of a ride is SOMETHING THAT’S NEVER BEEN DONE, BECAUSE IT’S NOT POSSIBLE. With eighteen vehicles traveling down the same track at the same time, a vehicle going in reverse would collide with the next vehicle coming behind it along the track. But if you’ve ever ridden in the Indiana Jones attraction, you know your vehicle does suddenly start backing up. At least that’s your perception. Your vehicle has actually stopped. It’s the walls and ceiling that are moving, giving you the undeniable feeling that you’re traveling backward…….so, where did we come up with this solution? A car wash. One of those self-service machines at the gas station where you pull your car in and park while a series of brushes and spray heads mounted above and beside your car travel back and forth.”
There’s more to Tony’s story, but enough here to make the point: whatever you’re trying to do, somebody has already figured out and built — just not in your business or industry or in an application you might ordinarily, easily think of in connection with your business. You do NOT want to invest umpteen days, weeks, months duplicating all the figuring out and innovation and engineering – you want to find the thing that’s already built.
Oh, and a key question to ask every time you see anything, go anywhere, experience anything: how can I use that? (more…)