Creativity Challenges to Help Develop Your Business

We have all been there. We sit down at our desks on a Monday morning, coffee in hand, ready to take on the week with a brand-new outlook for your business after the weekend rest. And… the ideas run dry as soon as 09:00 rolls around!

Creativity is so important to growing a business, maintaining your brand, and even coming up with where to go next with your expertise – ideas really are the new currency when it comes to maintaining and developing your business.

Here’s a few ideas to get your brain limbered up for the working week and ready to take your business to the next level. There’s a couple of quick warmups and a few longer, more strategic creative challenges to try afterwards. They may seem like a bit of harmless fun, but as Albert Einstein reportedly said, creativity is intelligence having fun!

Develop your business by building on creativity challenges

There’s An Idea in My Bucket

Take 25 minutes and write down 25 things you can do with a bucket. Try and take it from the mundane ‘fill it with water to wash the car’ to more outlandish ones – squashing grapes for your own wine label? Using it as a makeshift cauldron to make your garden tomatoes grow bigger? Or using it as a helmet when fighting back against neighbourhood zombies? There is no such thing as a wrong answer!

This is a bit of fun just to wake up your brain and get it thinking outside the box – no one needs to know your multiple uses for a bucket unless you really want to share your insights on Twitter!!

Speedy Storyboarding

Take a story prompt, such as “You are one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and you’re supposed to meet with the others at a café at noon. It’s 11:50 and you’re currently stuck in traffic” (this is just an example; it can be anything!).

Now, plan a story from this prompt with a beginning, middle and end in 25 minutes. If you work better with images, feel free to storyboard the story with images that show the unfolding story, just like film studios do when they are figuring out a story for any of their projects.

Once you have finished your first draft, go back, and revise it to make it more compelling, with twists and challenges for your characters, and with a satisfying conclusion. It does not need to win a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and doesn’t even need to see the light of day ever again – but it will get your brain moving and thinking about telling a compelling story. This could be helpful if you’re looking to market your business online by telling a story that will stay with potential customers – or it can just help limber your brain up!

The Realms of What If?

Now you’ve done one or both of the above mental warmups, time to shift into creative challenges that you can use with your business in mind.

Take a fresh page of paper and write down forty different “what if…” life scenarios for yourself. Feel free to really delve into any hidden visions or wishes you have for your business or for you personally for each statement, especially statements what you may be anxious or afraid to try.

Examples of “what if” statements can include:

  • What if I set up my own YouTube channel and posted a video a week?
  • What if I ran a 10k?
  • What if I created an online course on content creation?
  • What if I launched an online shop on my website?

Have a read through all the “what ifs” you’ve conjured on the page, and follow up on these statements with a small action against each one. Some ideas may not be completely realised, but it will help broaden your mind to options and opportunities that you either never thought of or didn’t feel confident enough to try. A “what if” from your list may be the spark you were looking for!

Problem Spotting

This creative challenge can be done in a pair or on your own. One person has a five-minute gripe or a good-natured moan about anything related to the business or the outcomes you currently know needs improving. Then have the other person ask follow on questions that start with “How might we…” if you are in a pair – if you’re doing this task solo, ask yourself these questions after you have voiced the issues you know need resolving.

These questions shouldn’t be so narrow that they can be answered with a potential solution right off the bat – in the first stages of questioning you’re trying to capture the problem and generate a range of ideas to solve the problem at hand. Asking “how might we…” should lead to ten different ideas that can then be whittled down to a few options to explore further.

Redrawing the map

Redrawing the Map

One last creative challenge to consider is a ‘Customer Journey Map’, which can help develop empathy for your customer and reconsider how you sell your services and products to meet (and exceed) customer expectations. Before you start your map, identify the ideal outcome for your customer’s journey and if there is a particular target audience you’re focusing on.

After naming your prospective customer to make things more personal (such as ‘Alice’, for example), think about the below touchpoints where your customer may encounter your brand:

  • Awareness – when, where and how do your target customers hear about you and your products and/or services?
  • Consideration – what processes does the customer go through when they are considering an investment in your company or enterprise? Do they visit your website or a physical store? Will they be researching other options in your market?
  • Purchase – how and where will the customer be making the purchase? What will clinch the deal for them to make the purchase?
  • Retention – how will the customer’s investment be retained through your products and services? What will keep them coming back to your business?
  • Advocacy – how and where will the customer show their support for your products and services? Are there issues with your products and services that need to be ironed out before any bad reviews or complaints are raised?

Whilst thinking about these phases of the customer experience, consider what are the main problems that ‘Alice’ may face during their customer journey with you. Thinking through the various stages the customer will go through when investing in your business will help generate ideas to maintain or build your reputation, and fix any problems a customer may come across before they have a chance to materialise.

These creative challenges are all about training your brain into becoming an idea generation machine – you can always trim the ideas back, but having a variety of diverse ideas to choose from makes it a more enjoyable, productive experience for developing the direction of your business. No one wants to be scraping the barrel and have only one idea with nothing to fall back on – and with these exercises, you won’t need to!

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