David Finch

David Finch

The ability to think bigger is what separates the average idea from the cutting edge. It’s what builds successful businesses and causes campaigns to generate buzz. Thinking bigger is the difference between a creator and a consumer.  It’s the difference between a thought leader and cheerleader.

Within the last few days the buzz has been around Google Wave and Microsoft’s new search engine, Bing. My inbox and feed reader have been filled with more than one review praising these latest creations. Web sites such as Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, and occasionally here on Social Media Explorer you’ll read reviews of the latest and most current tool or application that will make it easier for you to connect, streamline your social presence, monitoring what others are saying etc. etc. etc.

However, when was the last conversation you had with someone and you heard, “I have this idea” or “Wouldn’t be cool!” Mine was yesterday and before today is over I’m sure I’ll hear more. The challenge though is to make sure that you don’t fall into a rut, especially when you’re talking about social media, that you just don’t pimp tools and forget about developing strategies around building online communities.

It can become easy to present stale strategies because you haven’t rebuilt your seedbed of ideas. Pushing yourself to think bigger is just as much preparation as it is discipline. Your creative preparation is often times impacted by your level of exposure. The more your exposed to variety the more easier it can be to push past boundaries and enlarge your ability to think bigger than you have in the past.

Below are just a few things that I have done to help me to think bigger and stimulate creativity. They may work for you.

“The ability to think bigger is what separates the average idea from the cutting edge.”

  1. Read and study books and blogs outside of your area of expertise
  2. Broaden your worldview and read newspapers from around the world
  3. Tour and study manufacturing companies to be able to grasp the importance of process
  4. Travel internationally to enlarge your worldview
  5. Visit art galleries and try to visualize the artist’s creation through the eyes of the artist
  6. Study musicians and watch the process of new music from conception to performance
  7. Read military history to be able to visualize strategy and execution
  8. Study martial arts to be able to embrace mental and physical discipline
  9. Study graphic novels so that you can see how stories can be visualized
  10. Explore the gaming community and then consider what your idea would look like if it were presented in a gaming format.
  11. Visit the areas in your city where businesses have moved out and windows are boarded up and then ask the question, “What could have been done to prevent this?”
  12. Become a student of trends
  13. Think portable or mobile
  14. Build a collection of case studies ideas and strategies that got it right.
  15. Read magazines from a vast array of topics

While I know this is just one person’s approach, knowing what you do to stimulate creativity would be just an educational as the techniques I have mentioned above.

That being said, “What do you do?” How do you push yourself to think bigger instead of just repackaging old ideas?

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About David Finch

David Finch

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://www.pointzeroevents.com/ Tanya Van Kirk


    I already retweeted this and commented on Twitter, but had to add… I love your list because it emphasizes the fact that good marketing/advertising is an art that can't happen in a vacuum. It can't come only out of response analysis or tool manipulation. It is something that is living, evolving and must gel with the world outside in order to work.

    I've always been a pop art junkie, trend watcher (not follower), magazine fanatic, constant history & culture student, yoga lover, travel seeker, detail freak, curious to technology, novice artist (writing, music, painting and more) and I have pretty fabulous design instincts. I think it's the combo of all these things that I possessed since birth that made me a good marketer, not that marketing taught me how to be these things.

    So, my eyes are constantly open for new things to create a spark in me, and I always put myself in my ideal customer's skin at the end of the day to be sure that the big ideas are real and that I've fulfilled the customer's needs and wants. It's also about keeping it simple and being open to any idea – I tend to just take a blank piece of paper into random, different, old and new physical environments until that idea hits. Word association is great too.

  • http://thelostjacket.com Stuartfoster

    Exposing yourself to new and different things that are outside the realm of marketing/advertising is so important. It's also why I think Liberal Arts majors tend to make this best marketers.

    Having a sense of history, feeling, and overall tone of a demographic will greatly add to your success.

  • http://www.spotlightideasforum.co.uk/ Eamon

    Although like most people I think education is a great thing, I think academic education can be a hindrance, too, to creative thinking. When at school and university we are taught to think logically. When you write an essay it must have a beginning, middle and an end. Creative-thinking – coming up with ideas that will work in the real world – isn't like that. Creative-thinking, i think, is about coming up with ideas that at first might seem silly, odd, stupid – illogical. But with time they take shape and make sense.

    I, also, think that fear of failure is a big hindrance to creative thinking. We, naturally, avoid failure like the plague. But creative-thinking is about taking risks. It has to be. And in taking risks there is the risk of failure. Not all our ideas will work. But unless we experiment (which involves the possibility of failure) we won't get very far.

    Interesting topic!

    • http://www.spotlightideasforum.co.uk/ Eamon

      By the way by 'creative-thinking' I meant something quite different to critical-thinking / strategy / tactics – these come after creative-thinking.

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  • http://teenmoneymakingideas.com/need-pocket-money-earn-some-with-free-cash-surveys-for-teens/ Pocket Change

    Wow, what excellent thought process, advice and insightful questions rolled into one article. I can't recall the last time I had a “I have this idea, wouldn't it be cool if” moment. I have definitely gotten into a daily rut no doubt about it. I like the ideas you put forth about how to achiever or try to achieve bigger ideas. I would throw into the mix: relaxation techniques, yoga, meditation. I find that create processes flow better when I am not trying to concentrate on them. Make sense? Sometimes just a simple walk in the park on a cloudy day, or sunny day a the beach – inspiration is everywhere, you just have to be looking for it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patricia-Philippe/1473888570 Patricia Philippe

    As I read through this list, it occurs to me that my natural curiousity about life is exactly what has contributed to my ability to think big.

  • http://improve-health-fitness.blogspot.com/ Lucky

    Thank your article. I think watch other niche, Can create a good idea.

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