Being creative, coming up with new ways of doing things, getting attention, and, generally, being successful are crucial – in business and in ‘non-business’ life. Here are ten tips on what you can do to become more successful.


  1. Read/ listen to the ‘creative catalogues’ every day. These creative catalogues are newspapers and business/news-related radio programmes. Every day these contain great examples of creativity in action. Spot them and keep a scrapbook of your favourite ideas. This is a good source for sparking your own creativity, and you can often use variations of an idea in your work.


  1. Have creative heroes. It might be someone famous, or someone you know, or a fictional character. For example, you could use your cat as a source of inspiration. When faced with a challenge you could ask: “What ideas would the cat come up with?” You’re never alone with a creative challenge if you have the equivalent of a wardrobe of creative heroes ready to help you.


  1. Introduce variety in your life. It might be going to work by a different route or at a different time. Introducing regular change in your life helps stimulate new ways of seeing the world around you, and gets you out of a rut in your thinking and in your doing.


  1. Make someone own the problem, challenge or task. Whatever it is you need new ideas for, someone must take charge. I have yet to read a great poem or see a brilliant picture painted by a committee.


  1. Give the task meaning. Look back on your life for anything for which you went that extra yard. Why did you? Probably, the task had some special meaning for you. If you find it hard to be motivated by your current challenge, think of reasons why you should care. If you’re not bothered, how do you expect other people to go the extra yard?


  1. Take responsibility. The call to have a brainstorm is often used as a way to avoid responsibility by the person who owns the problem. What’s the point of getting colleagues to give up their valuable time to come up with the obvious or ideas you could come up with yourself? A brainstorm should be used to stretch, challenge and redefine the brief. It’s a ‘time tax’ on your colleagues’ precious working hours. Make sure it’s used effectively by working on the brief by yourself and spotting the immediate and obvious ideas.


  1. Do your homework. There’s always something new to find out about a subject, no matter how familiar you are with it. The internet is a brilliant research tool. Just as important is to get to ‘the coal face’ of your situation. How do people use what you’re promoting? Ask people close to the target market. Taxi drivers, bar staff and hairdressers are great people to bounce ideas off.


  1. Spend time on the follow-through. Time spent by the participants following up in the brainstorm is as important as generating ideas. So, if you had six colleagues who spend 20 minutes in a brainstorm, that equates to 6 x 20 minutes or 120 minutes. So, you should spend at least 120 minutes in the follow-through, sifting, evaluating and nurturing ideas.


  1. Manage the preparation and the follow-through. Treat the brainstorm event as the halfway stage in cooking ideas. You need to prepare for the session by identifying the real brief, doing your homework, and seeing the content generated by the brainstorm.


  1. Contact any participant of your brainstorm the next day. You’ll find your brainstorm session is a great warmer-up for people’s thinking. They’ll often have great ideas after the session. If you don’t bother to contact them, it’s more than likely these ideas will go unrecorded and be lost for ever.


  1. Give more than is asked of you. Always. Did I tell you to expect ten ideas? Surprise people by adding something extra.