Have you heard of the Paperclip Test? It’s a way of measuring your innovation IQ by counting the number of uses you can find for a paperclip. Go on, give it a go!
One of the mantras we live by at Chatterbox Marketing is to ‘think like a kid’. Why? Because if you gave the Paperclip Test to a kid, the last thing the kid would think of is holding paper together. They’d be making earrings for their cat or clipping their Mum’s shoelaces together. Anything, but holding boring paper.
When it comes to marketing, promoting your sale in the local newspaper or running a boosted Facebook post, is the equivalent of using a paper clip to hold paper together. It may fill a short-term need, but it’s uninspiring and unlikely to create long term success. Instead, we look for the left of centre ideas that will leave an impression on your audience. Just like if someone clipped your shoelaces together with a paper clip.
Creative thinking (A.K.A. ‘thinking like a kid’) may come easier to some, but, like everything in business, it’s a skill that can be honed with practice. Below are five exercises that’ll give your childish side a work out:
1. Ten Ideas
Select a topic / problem and come up with 10 ideas to solve or improve it. The topics can be relevant to your life or totally left of field. For example, ’10 ideas for a Christmas movie’ or ’10 ways to improve an umbrella’.
For an extra challenge, try to complete the exercise in 3-minutes.
2. Dictionary Word Game
Randomly select a word in the dictionary. Use that word and the words directly above and below to create a short story.
3. 30 Circles
Download and print the pdf below, which contains 30 blank circles. Your challenge is to fill as many circles as possible in 3 minutes by drawing individual images (i.e. create a wheel, an emoji, a bomb, a coin ….)
4. Keep it Simple
Ernest Hemingway famously laid down a challenge to write a story in six words. Try it, or modernise this as a Twitter challenge and write a short story in just 140 characters.
5. Old Problem, Your Solution
No matter what problem you face, you’re likely not the first to be up against it. Research the creative ways others have tackled your problem and apply your own creative spin on a tried and tested solution.
Podcasts and TED talks can be digestible and inspiring ways to explore a topic.