Creative thinking: What would Virgin Blue do?

- October 14, 2006 2 MIN READ

If you’re struggling with a lack of ideas or inspiration, sometimes it helps to do some creative thinking and ask, what approach might another business you admire take?

“If you think what you’ve always thought, you’ll do what you’ve always done. And if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.”

Whether you’re a high flying corporate-type or (more importantly) a high flying soloist, there’s never been a truer word spoken when it comes to seeking inspiration around how best to approach all aspects of your business.

Despite not knowing the author of this wonderful piece of wisdom (if you do, please let me know), I have managed to build a business around it – creative thinking. A business that recognises that more often than not there really is a better way of doing things. Whether it’s a better business process, developing a new product or service offer, a different way of building client relationships or your overall approach to marketing.

When I ask clients “Why do you do it that way?” it’s amazing how often they answer, “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Sometimes this is absolutely the right answer, but more often than not, it’s the answer resulting from not spending enough time ON the business.

So my challenge to you is this. Spend some dedicated time in creative thinking, looking differently at parts of your business that seem blocked…parts that don’t seem to be moving forward at a pace you’re happy with.

Want more articles like this? Check out the innovation section.

Then, instead of posing simple questions like “How could I do it better?” look for solutions using what I call richer questions. Here are some examples:

Area requiring attention Questions
Customer service What do people not like about the process of purchasing my product or service? How could I change this?

What are the unshakeable beliefs in my industry about what customers want? What if the opposite were true for each one of them?

Which of my customers’ hassles could I by-pass or reduce?

Marketing What would, say, Virgin Blue do? (The idea here is to choose a market leader from an unrelated category).
New product or service development What jobs are people trying to get done but can’t with current technologies and services?

Based on a specific trend what product or service will be needed or desired by a particular social group?
(Eg. single mothers, empty nesters etc.)

Pitching for business How would Robbie Williams approach it? Or a Formula 1 Pit Crew?

What if a condition of pitching for a potential piece of business was that you were not allowed to provide any written documentation? Now how would you do it?

By this stage, as in many of my creative thinking workshops, you’re probably thinking “This Tim guy has lost the plot!”

Well, you may be right, however, before you commit that to email have a go at looking at things differently.

You just might not get what you’ve always got.

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  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"