Here are 5 no-brainer things you can do that don’t require models, learnings or cryptic code to get right.
 Get Bored – Our lockdown experiences are proof of this, as well as those annual holidays on a tropical island. When your brain is so busy with day-to-day business there is little capacity for freedom of thought. I knew this was inevitable after lockdown, and am now seeing the evidence of new websites, new offering and new businesses springing up as a result of people having time to think.
In your day-to-day lives, you need to actively plan for complete downtime. You need to unplug from the demands and give your brain a chance to think differently. Certain practices like meditation also create the mental space needed for new thinking.
 Make Use of the web and Content Generation Engines – the challenge with the web is information overload but sift through the noise and you will find the nuggets. For example, use a platform like Alter to generate name ideas and to see which domains are available. I have found that even if I don’t find exactly what I am looking for, it does generate new trains of thought that often lead to new ideas.
 Review the Competition – In my early years of business I, had an aversion to spending the effort to really understanding what my competition was doing. I did not want to be an imitator and valued my own original thought. I no longer buy into this. Instead, I embrace the experience of what already exists. In fact, I often quote a famous quote from Mark Twain: ‘There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope.”
The short cut to getting value out of understanding what your competitors are doing has less to do with the actual mechanics of what you see and more to do with understanding the thinking, rationale or second-order consequences behind their actions. Then to put these ideas through the ‘acid test’ in order that you can create even better options or outcomes.
For instance, let’s say your competitor introduces a loyalty programme. It could be that they did this because the owner personally loves his bank’s loyalty rewards programme, or they aspire to create something like Air New Zealand’s programme. So, they introduce one and over time so do their competitors. After some time, all of these businesses look back and, if they are honest, could admit that the loyalty programme was probably just another business cost that did little to actually increase loyalty and was also never really measurable.
Had they rather invested in good old fashioned after-sales customer service, this would have been at a lower cost and resulted in your customers better feeling the ‘love’ from you.
Think strategically when analysing your competitors. Understand the pros and cons of everything they do. Do better than them.
 Surround Yourself with people who think differently to you and each other – Even though I have found this often, I am still surprised when I perform a DISC assessment in a company and find how similar everyone is in terms of their own behavioural profiles. And then, usually, there are one or two ‘outsiders’ who don’t quite fit into the ‘culture’ of the company and have a very different DISC profile.
We tend to associate ourselves with those who are similar to ourselves. Great for harmony, not great for divergent thinking. Ensure that in your business you are not merely cloning yourself: build up the staff numbers with divergently thinking people. Expose yourself to people or groups who tend to think differently to you.
 Reward Your Employees for Thinking Creatively – Are you familiar with Kaizen or Lean management? In a nutshell, I could say it is about identifying waste in a system, continually eliminating this waste and working towards a standardised system.
This description of Kaizen/Lean may be mostly correct but the truth about the ‘method’ is nothing like that. Rather it is about innovation and empowerment at all levels in an organisation and a culture that embeds this way of operating and living. I have just finished another audible book, this one on the Toyota Way to Lean Leadership, I highly recommend listening to or reading the book.
In order to create and sustain a culture of innovation in your business, you need to demonstrate this yourself. A quick tip on this one: if someone in your business comes up with a suggestion or innovative idea, then by all means positively acknowledge this: tell them well done. But what is more important is to acknowledge their proactivity and way of thinking that led them to this idea. And give this acknowledgement both privately and publicly.
So that is 5 bite-sized, dead-easy to use strategies that you 100% can dial into (or dial-up) your business as of today.