We humans wouldn’t have gotten very far without creativity.
Making fire, finding food, building shelters, using tools… all of these innovations pushed us forward as a species.
But what exactly is creativity?
Creativity is the ability to produce an idea that is novel, good, and useful. Innovation is the successful implementation of those ideas.
The ability to create new ideas is not a superpower possessed by a select few. It’s a combination of memory processes we take for granted. Making connections between the loosely associated items around us is the spark of creativity in our brains.
Despite what many people seem to think, you don’t have to be a genius to be creative. Intelligence is centered on information gathering. Creativity goes beyond that, connecting concepts that may not have an obvious connection. It’s applying your expertise in one discipline to another to stimulate a creative breakthrough.
In her new book Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It, Dorie Clark says:
Some of the most significant ideas come about when someone sees a problem in a new way
A famous example is Henry Ford taking inspiration from the Chicago stockyards overhead trolley. As each carcass passed down the line butchers cut away meat until nothing was left. Ford reversed this process, starting with nothing and adding parts until a finished vehicle rolled off the assembly line.
As founders we all dream of launching a billion dollar app, but creative ideas are often an incremental improvement on an existing product. Dreaming up dozens of ideas means nothing if they aren’t followed up with implementation.
Successful entrepreneurs have a combination of delusion, nerve and audacity. They make the most out of life with the right mix of caution and courage, learning from both victories and mistakes.
The more you try new things, the more skills you develop, the more creative you become.
6 Beautiful Ways Artificial Constraints Can Improve Your Creativity and Life
Exploring Creativity In-Depth: The Practical Purpose of Creativity
Managing Creativity and Productivity: 5 Tips for Founders and Leaders
Three Thoughts On Accomplishing Goals As An Entrepreneur
A buyer persona is more than a generic representation of your customers. The key to creating an effective persona is to describe your buyer within the context of a purchase decision you want to influence.
Targeting potential customers based on a persona, and at what stage of your purchase funnel they fall in, is widely considered a best practice (or are they an outdated marketing technique?). They’re also easy to lose sight of when your deadlines is fast approaching. To maximize the effectiveness of using personas, define a strategy to keep customers top of mind.
A lack of marketing is the fatal flaw for most failed start-ups.
Many startups have unique stories worth sharing with their customers. By sharing these stories through content marketing, startups get exposure and traffic. Some of the most successful startups use content to fuel their growth.
Content marketing works, but only if done right. One of biggest challenges faced by startups and entrepreneurs is creating fresh content on a regular basis. Finding your ideal content marketing rhythm is the secret to creating consistently great content.
It’s difficult to focus our thoughts and experiences into a sequence. We ebb and flow between a lack of motivation and bursts of productivity. Staring at a blank page with a deadline looming certainly doesn’t foster your creativity.
Implementing a visual system for organizing your content ideas helps you translate your “all at once” thoughts into a logical sequence and communicate more effectively.
Customer Experience (CX)
Your audience is bombarded with marketing messages every single day. To convert them into customers you need to deliver a one-to-one customer experience. It’s crucial to listen to your customers first. Understand them before you try to sell to them.
A good technique to create a unique customer experience is identifying how and when customers interact with your brand. Customer Journey Mapping is visually mapping their experience to improve the quality of every touchpoint.
Inspired by lean and agile development methodologies, Lean UX is the practice of bringing the actual experience being designed to users early in the design process, and using that feedback in the final product.
Understanding the difference between wireframes, mockups and prototypes, and at what part of the process each one is the right choice, you’ll create a quality customer experience at every interaction customers have with your product.