Creativity. You’ll need it to innovate, think divergently, solve problems and pivot when initial ideas fail to produce the results you want.
Creativity is a crucial business skill. The good news is creativity isn’t solely a talent possessed by artists, designers or musicians. You can learn how to be creative by changing the way you think and behave.
In this post, I’ll share 7 ways to boost creativity:
- Deliberately expose yourself to new experiences.
- Be a conscious consumer.
- Maximise everything.
- Cultivate curiosity.
- Steal like an artist.
- Generate lots of bad ideas.
- Embrace constraints.
As we go, I’ll add some examples of how these exercises can produce results in a healthcare marketing setting.
1. Boost creativity by deliberately exposing yourself to new experiences
Eating the same food, travelling the same route to work, consuming the same media and hanging out with the same people all the time will starve you of the variety of experiences you need to feed your creative juices. Next time, side-step your habits and do something unusual.
For example, last year I started working with a personal trainer. Effective personal trainers are great at client adherence – getting their clients to stick to programs in the long-term. One of the tactics he employed with me was to get me to text him my scale weight every day, which he’d log in a spreadsheet. Monitoring my daily weight achieved three outcomes that influenced my adherence:
- I became aware of one of my body’s key performance indicators (which created a productive daily adherence habit)
- I linked my behaviour (eating and training habits) with my desired outcomes (losing weight) which made me aware of cause and effect
- I saw my weight drop on a daily and weekly basis (which motivated me to continue)
It didn’t take me long to see how a similar approach would help my customers. If I could ask them to log their inquiries, consultations and treatment bookings on a daily or weekly basis, they would also become more productive, aware and motivated too.
These new routines proved essential in achieving the results I sought. However, I wouldn’t have considered them in my work without breaking my unproductive, ignorant habits that failed to motivate change.
More recently, I did my first headstand in a yoga class. When I did it, and I felt that triumphant moment, I thought to myself (almost immediately), “wow, people love a guide who can help them achieve something so quickly that they didn’t imagine or expect to achieve at that moment.” Then, I thought, “what can we help our clients immediately achieve to get that same reaction – of unexpected triumph? How can we create a small win?”
I’ve not yet come up with the answer but asking the question itself is inspiring for a creative solution.
Can you think of how you can create an opportunity for a small win in a clinical setting? Your patients will love it, and the hope you help them capture will lead to more conversions and adherence.
An effective way to experience something new is to unplug from the ubiquitous tech we depend on every minute of every day. Cate, our project manager, shares her preferred application of this approach:
For me fresh air always helps – getting out, taking a stroll, seeing things other than a desk. I find it especially helpful not having my phone with me so that I can really take in my environment and get ideas from what I see.
2. Be a conscious consumer
Whenever you’re engaging with any business as a customer, ask yourself:
- What’s the story they’re selling?
- Who is the ideal customer they are trying to attract?
- How do I differ from that?
- How do I fit?
- What stage of the sales funnel am I in (top, middle or bottom)?”
- In what phase of the customer value journey am I?
- What is the company doing to get me more aware, engaged, subscribed, converted, excited, and ascended to the next sale?
One company that’s inspired me recently is DigitalMarketer. They offer paid access to a Facebook Group where thousands of digital marketers can interact, ask each other for help, learn from each other and share successes. After six months of membership, I’ve gained powerful insights that have helped me be a better digital marketer.
Recently, I thought: “Wouldn’t it be useful if clinics created groups (on Facebook or elsewhere) where prospective patients could interact with existing patients and get similar benefits?” I have yet to find a client to take me up on this idea, but the one who does will have a winner on their hands.
Hundreds if not thousands of messages impact you every day. Consume consciously, and you’ll be on the way to picking up valuable ideas and lessons from your daily interactions with companies.
3. Maximise everything
When you see robust marketing communications or experience superior customer service, ask yourself – how would I make this even better? How could I make this even more customer-oriented?
- I love Ocado delivery, but it’d be even better if they texted me 10 minutes before a delivery arrives so I could start making space in the fridge.
- I love Constancia Argentine Grille, but it’d be even better if they listed calorie counts and macros on their menus so that I could track if what I ate there was inside my calorie goals.
- I love the look and feel of Third Space, my gym, but it’d be even better if they had an app where I could book classes a week in advance.
- Nele, one of our marketing specialists, contributed this idea: “I like the features of online banking (quick, easy, etc.), but I’d find it nice if I could set up a notification when there’s, for example, less than £500 (or whatever sum) on my bank account. Or if they’d send me a notification after I’ve spent more than a specific sum.”
Opportunities to improve products and services are everywhere. Thinking this way can help you maximise yours.