4-step Creative Process to Overcome Adversity
This year hasn’t been business as usual and many are finding themselves wondering if their current business model can remain successful in a post-COVID world. For many business owners, times of turmoil and distress are breaking points. Whereas, the most successful ones emerge from distress stronger by embracing creativity in light of adversity. It’s a moment for opportunity, fresh ideas, and maybe even a new business model. But what if you don’t consider yourself a “creative person”?
Before the pandemic, Sam Stanton, Chief Creative Officer at THINKERS Society, primarily orchestrated huge events and productions for Fortune 100 companies. At the start of the pandemic, his company had 58 events canceled in a single week. In what could have been a moment of dissolution, rather they leveraged the tried-and-true creative process they’ve been using all along to identify their next step.
These methodologies and practices can instantly come in to play to help individuals and entities “rethink” what is happening, “rethink” their opportunities, and most importantly help people move forward in perhaps different ways.
“I don’t care what field you are in: there is a need, and this is the time for thinking differently,” stresses Sam. “It’s about getting people to their ideas faster and thinking differently from what you’ve always done or learned from somewhere else. When you can do that, you make your own luck. And remember, one of the definitions of luck is being prepared to take advantage of an opportunity.”
Here is the four-step process, the THINKERS Method, that Sam and his team utilizes to help others think differently and unlock their creativity:
The Thinker’s Process
Step 1 – Brainwriting
First, get all the great ideas you have on paper by writing notes or sketching ideas. Don’t be hesitant to put down the “bad ideas”, too. Sam also calls this “brain dumping” because you’re dumping ideas out of your brain so that you stop simply storing them and free up space to now start thinking about them.
Brainwriting can be open-ended, time-limited, alone or with a group—whatever is best for you to document ideas. For example, if you’re brainwriting with the practice staff on ways to grow the observation pool following a slow spring, make it an open environment where everyone is encouraged to contribute and ideate without judgement. Not everyone likes to be put on the spot, have the team begin to capture their thoughts individually over a defined time, an hour, a day or a week.
Sam notes: “You never know when or where the best ideas will come but having a place to write and document them is important. You’ll be amazed how this tiny effort and direction will open everyone’s eyes to new opportunities, enhancements and efficiencies.
Step 2 – Prioritize
Now it’s time to identify, rank and prioritize the top ideas from your brainwriting session. Everyone has their creative thinking time and space—whether its exercising or driving or takes place in minutes or months—your best thoughts will rise to the top.
“The first thing you wrote down is likely what you thought was your best idea,” says Sam. “But 90% of the time, that’s not the idea you’re going to choose to solve that challenge, because that was the most obvious and easiest answer.”
Step 3 – Illumination
With your top ideas identified, take each idea and storyboard or detail out what the ideas is. Create the “sales pitch” you’ll share with others in your group as to why this idea is going to make a difference. This is also the time to identify the roadblocks and what-ifs around your ideas. It’s okay to not have a solution at the moment, but this process sparks your subconscious to start planning ahead.
Step 4 – Actions
Develop a sound plan for making your ideas happen. It helps to talk to other people and tell them about your problems and struggles. In listening to other people’s responses and ideas, you become more receptive to new ideas and garner clarity on how to act on them.
“Consider how you are going to put those ideas into action,” suggests Sam. “Because everyone has a great idea, yet people rarely execute on it. You can’t just keep going, going, going. You have to stop, absorb what’s going on and really open your eyes.”
At this point, you should have a solid solution to the challenge ahead of you and a clear, actionable way to move forward with your new big idea.
Ready for a big creative challenge?
With everything happening in the world, it’s easy to feel downtrodden and disheartened but remember, this is a moment to leverage creativity to develop a stronger business and practice.
“It’s fascinating to see what blooms and blossoms come out of a little creative thought and time,” encourages Sam. “Now, when the opportunity arises, you’ll have the mindset and tools to attack any challenge. You can move forward.”
If you could use help putting the Thinker’s Process to work in your practice and personal challenges ahead, come see Sam present at the CWA Annual Meeting in February 2022. He’ll lead a workshop on this process to help you unlock the creativity that resides in all of us.