Tips and Tricks

Problem Solving and Creativity


It’s NOT Rocket Science!

​by Skip Cohen

It’s Marketing Monday, and wandering through my archives, I found this short post I shared many years ago. I found it helpful for a couple of challenges I’m working with currently. I love it when an article has content without an expiration date.

Most of you are focused on what you can do to make 2023 your best year in business to date. That means you’ve got to focus on understanding your target audience, your skill set, branding, and the list goes on and on.  

I found the following gem from Charles Chic Thompson. While he added some humor to the concept, think about each of his ten points. More than likely, you’ll agree he’s dead on and might even be worth tracking down one of his books.

Top 10 Creative Rules of Thumb

 1. The best way to get great ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away.
 2. Create ideas that are 15 minutes ahead of their time…not light years ahead.
 3. Always look for a second right answer.
 4. If at first you don’t succeed, take a break.
 5. Write down your ideas before you forget them.
 6. If everyone says you are wrong, you’re one step ahead. If everyone laughs at you, you’re two steps ahead.
 7. The answer to your problem “pre-exists.” You need to ask the right question to reveal the answer.
 8. When you ask a dumb question, you get a smart answer.
 9. Never solve a problem from its original perspective.
 10. Visualize your problem as solved before solving it.

​Years ago, in my Polaroid days, I put together some great little programs for the camera stores. Several people were surprised at my creativity – but I did nothing except talk to the sales reps and the dealers. I asked the camera store owners, “What would it take for you to double your sales with us next year?” With the sales reps, the question was, “If we doubled your quota, what would you need to make the number?”

All the answers were out there – all I had to do was listen!

And it’s the same for building a more substantial business for you in 2023. Pay attention to your target audience. Take the time to brainstorm and just write down each idea. Remember not to work in a vacuum – whether a business employee, family member, friend, or associate, you need a fresh pair of ears and eyes on key projects.

​Most important of all, I love number four – take a break when you need it. Walk away from the problem you’re trying to solve and come back fresh!

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