This is where your next big idea is going to come from…

It’s a great time to be alive!

Spring is in the air and with it comes the perfect Futurist mindset of renewal, regeneration and birth (all of you reading this in the northern hemisphere, life is still great, just a bit colder).

And just as certain as Spring is each year, is the certainty that each and everyday someone will ask me “where do great ideas come from?

So, in honour of Spring I want to show you how to get your creativity flowing.

I’ve used this really simple, low tech, high energy ideation exercise thousands of times around the globe, in events, workshops, strategy sessions and everywhere in-between and regardless of language, group, industry or issue(s), it’s always delivered great laughs, monumental aha moments, incredible breakthroughs and multi-million dollar possibilities.

So, here’s my recipe for idea creation…

  1. Get up off your seat
  2. Stand up tall
  3. Stretch your right hand up toward the ceiling (left hand, if you’re left handed)
  4. Point your right (or left, if your left handed) index finger to the sky
  5. Standing tall, arm outstretched and with index finger pointing up to the ceiling, bend down at the waist until your finger is pointing towards the floor
  6. Now while you’re looking at the floor, stare at your shoes

Now, we’ve all seen shoes before and we all know what shoes are for – protecting your feet (yes, I hear many of you screaming: NO! they’re for fashion and collecting, but that’s a whole different exercise).

But, do your everyday “feet protecting” shoes have any other extraordinary uses?

Let’s find out.

7. Straighten up

8. Join together with 3-4 people around you

9. Take 5 minutes to come up with 5 non-traditional uses for the shoes at the end of your feet

and because I’m a futurist, I always know how the exercise will go…

First, cue laughter, giggles, frustration, clock watching and then a timid comment from someone – maybe they could be used as pot plant holders, or a bong, a frisbee, or even a pair of stubby holders.

Second, the competitive edge kicks in (pun intended) and people begin imagining turning their shoes into flying drones, putting sensors inside them that provide tactile turning directions.

Third, participants get a bit braver and start sharing- what about shoe heating and air-conditioning? What about a reflexology massager? How about shoes that change colour? or, shoes that automatically adapt to the weather and terrain.

And then the different business model possibilities starts to bubble up – What about a shoe subscription service? or a shoe swapping club? or starting a ShoeAholic support group?

And with 2 minutes go, I’ll throw the hand-grenade comment in of “have you considered only using the shoelaces, the leather, the tongue, the eyelets, the heel, because you don’t necessarily have to take everything with you into the future exactly as it was in the past, just the bits that still have purpose and value”.

And then we’re off and racing down a whole new world of possibilities, with more ideas then this exercise has time for, but don’t worry there are lots more provocative conversations, ideation exercises, selection matrix’s and next-step building ahead.

Maybe your next great Spring renewal, regeneration or idea birth is as close as your feet and just as easy to find.

The only way to know, is to be brave enough to imagine your world differently.

The moral of the exercise is: if you’re looking for your next “big thing”,
get up, get uncomfortable, do something different, look in unusual places, and off to the sides, take inspiration from everyday objects, needs and wants and then talk to the people around you to figure out their tomorrow needs of it and how best you can rise to the challenge of exceeding their expectations.

I’d love to inspire and guide you on your journey, lets chat now about the different and profitable ways we can find and create your tomorrow and beyond, together.