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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Need Some New Ideas? Change Your Character

A great technique to generate new ideas is delegating your challenge to someone else…say, Mary Ann or Ginger or the Professor from “Gilligan’s Island.” Too good to be true? It’s not. Here’s how it works:

  1. State the business challenge that you’re addressing – it could be an opportunity, a problem, a new process or approach, etc.

  2. Pick who you want to have work on your situation. This could be a real person, a fictional or cartoon character, or even another business.

  3. Once you’ve identified who you’ll put on the job, list 8 to 10 approaches that the person, character, or business uses to address opportunities or challenges.

  4. Using each of the 8 to 10 approaches, apply them to your situation to generate at least 3 new ideas for solving it. The result should be at least 30 new ideas to consider for your situation. (For ways to prioritize, check out this earlier post on narrowing ideas.)

The reason that the seven castaways are such good people to delegate to is because they are so different (thus approaching challenges differently) and still relatively well-known as pop culture icons (download a pdf overview from that you can use in a team brainstorming session).

Typical approaches that surface for the castaways to address situations include:

  • Make something out of coconuts & bamboo (whatever is available)
  • Create a new invention
  • Perform an experiment
  • Plot an elaborate plan
  • Get somebody else to do your work for you
  • Play / act out a different character
  • Flirt with someone (use your talents to get your way)
  • Pay money to get what you want
  • Sleep with a Teddy Bear (do something to improve comfort)
  • Look out for the benefit of others

On Wednesdays for the next couple of months, we’ll highlight other characters that are very helpful when you delegate to them. And really, where else can you put Donald Trump to work for you!

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