From Startup to Fortune 50, Companies Need to Brainstorm Outside the Box


Everyone says this. “Innovation” is now one of the most overused words in the English lexicon. Small companies are declaring they are innovative. Large corporations are developing task forces to become innovative. Everyone is striving for that business edge.

But what are some good ways to get ideas going? American Express’ Open Forum is offering some good resources and this article of Thinking Outside the Box by Darren Dahl is one of them. His points are simple: Talk to people to test ideas out, blue sky them, and don’t be shy about who to talk to. And listen, listen, listen.

He highlights 5 key types of people to engage with:

Your Team and/or Employees – they know where processes can be streamlined; what customers are saying; which products are being returned most often and why; what impact price breaks have on sales. They are incredible resource. Ask them.

Your Customers – it is amazing how happy people are to help. By asking them for feedback, you are showing that you care, and people become attached to those who care about them. Again, just ask.

Peers & Mentors –
if you’re starting or have started your own business, or are leading a group within a larger organization, it is highly likely you have a network of people who believe in you, care about you, and want you to succeed. Talk to them. The feedback they give you can be even more valuable when it comes from advisors who are outside your target market and who have different types of experiences than what you would normally consider relevant to your product.

Competitors – your competition is asking the same questions you are: how do I stay ahead of the game, care for my customers, care for my employees, create great product, excel at customer service, be profitable and scale. So how are they answering the questions for themselves? Excellent insights can be found in their actions and statements.

Yourself – give yourself the space and time to have ideas free flow through your mind. Step away from the office and that digital device. Give yourself downtime in whatever way works best for you. That’ll recharge those little gray cells.

by Limor Schafman

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