That’s the way it seems when some artists talk about it. Some magical muse drops on them and all of sudden genius happens.
Nope…that doesn’t work for me.
It’s a lot of more mundane.
But the good news is you can summon creativity on demand if you get yourself in the right spot.
The reality is NOTHING is created out of thin air.
There is nothing new under the sun.
Instead everything is built upon whatever came before it. The old cliche that we stand on the shoulders of giants is the most accurate description.
For example, the best copywriters don’t sit down and draft a winning materpiece in a vacuum.
Instead they look at successful ads which have run before. They look at what’s already working in the market and find a way to improve on it. They have a list of headlines which have worked consistently for them before which they look at to generate their new ideas.
They do their research to find out what customers are already saying in the market, and use the customer’s own language as often as possible.
This is true of business breakthroughs as well. FedEx saw how banks had a central processing center and developed faster delivery methods for packages based off of it. McDonalds also could have seen the drive through at banks before ever using them to deliver food.
The best writers are voracious readers.
Even musicians are inspired by music and the experiences which have changed their lives.
Let’s look at a “radical” concept such as the iPod. The name and product was first created in 2001 with the idea of combining an mp3 player with a music delivery service like Napster (iTunes). It was built on two other ideas first. And even the mp3 player idea came years earlier in 1979 a Kane Kramer drew up designs for a handheld music player and the idea to download music from phone lines.
A blank page is the worst way to get started on any project.
Imitation is when you simply copy something else.
That rarely works well in the business world because you’re just a me-too company.
Innovation is when you improve on something or combine multipel concepts to create a “new” thing.
That’s the daily process we’re looking for in business – continual and consistent improvement of our ideas, systems, and methods.
If you want to be more creative, experience more. Read more. Watch new products come out. Pay attention to businesses in other industries.
Go through and examine your competitors in detail. Buy something from them and see what else they offer you.
Change how a product is packaged (for example all those 100 calories little packaged foods now).
Make it smaller (those huge mainframes turned into little tiny computers we can carry with us).
Make it bigger (that little TV hidden in closet now is a 72 inch monster).
Do it faster (10 minute oil changes, microwaves, etc.).
Be more personal (customized help, coaching, home delivery, etc.).
Combine multiple items (memberships, frozen meals, smart phones).
Make it cheaper (Walmart, electronics, Amazon).
Those are all ways you can tap into your creativity and improve what you’re offering – based on what is already out there and working in some other industry.
Quit wasting time with a blank page, and use what’s already out there to innovate and improve our world.