How to Boost Your Personal Creativity in Business Planning

As far as business planning goes, where do creative ideas originate? As part of an informal survey, innovative individuals named their top idea-generating activities. The most frequently cited answers lead off the following list:

As far as business planning goes, where do creative ideas originate? As part of an informal survey, innovative individuals named their top idea-generating activities. The most frequently cited answers lead off the following list:

In the shower Commuting Going to sleep
Just waking up During quiet moments Actively thinking
Exercising Meditating Walking
Talking with friends While vacationing During the night
During a business meeting Reading Sitting at the desk
While under pressure Napping Dreaming
At a business seminar Lunching with colleagues In the classroom

Identify the activities that get your creative juices going, and over the next few weeks, devote a little more time to those pursuits. Watch for a boost in your creativity as a result.

Business planning sometimes addresses specific challenges that an existing company faces: retooling a product or service that isn’t working, for example, or addressing a new competitive challenge. In some cases, business planning is done on an emergency basis, as in when the company is suddenly bleeding cash and needs major surgery to avoid going under.

Success depends on taking a clear-eyed look at the challenge and coming up with creative solutions in the form of an action-based strategic plan. The first step is asking the appropriate questions. The questions in the figure can help you begin a business plan designed to overcome challenges facing an existing business.

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Not all creative thinking is done alone. Put a few heads together, and you may whip up a mental hurricane. The outcome depends on the nature of the group of individuals you assemble (the more dynamic, inspired, freewheeling and innovative, the better) and the communication skills that the session leader brings into the room.

The quickest way to kill an idea is to say anything akin to any of the following:

  • It won’t work.

  • We’re not ready for that.

  • It isn’t practical.

  • It’s already been done.

  • That’s just plain stupid.

The group you assemble needs to remain open to all ideas presented in order to develop a healthy idea-generating environment.

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