Why it’s important to make time to think

Ping! New ideas can come out of nowhere like a light being switched on.

In today’s busy, media rich society it can be difficult to find the time to simply sit and think about things. 

As part of the innovation process, we need to brainstorm and consider creative solutions, for new product ideas, ways to use promotional tools or to work out how we can do things better.   Sometimes thinking can appear like idol time because ideas are intangible and some of them may never come to fruition. However it’s important to ensure you foster an atmosphere that engenders ‘blue-sky thinking’,  as often the best ideas are the ones that spring out of nowhere simply because time was allowed to consider different options.

Some people are better at creative thinking than others.  For those who need a little help, there are many tools and techniques out there.  For example, I was recently asked as part of a group, to come up with a name for a new software system.  Several acronyms had been thrown into the mix and discarded for being ‘cheesy’.   This left us a bit lost as we thought we were on to a winner.  To come up with some new names we used the ‘creative whack pack’ which is a set of cards with scenarios on to help you consider your options.  We thought about the system as if it were a person: how old would it be, is it male or female, what does it look like, where does it live? etc.  Talking this through enabled us to visualise the system as a real human being and therefore come up with a name to suit its ‘personality’. 

Some of my better thoughts come to me when I’ve ‘switched off’, when I am no longer working and am walking my dog or doing the washing up.   This is because my brain is free from the ‘noise’ that distorts creative thinking, that gets in the way of the ‘anything goes’ way of approaching a problem.

As a manager we have a duty to ensure our teams can take the time needed to think, to get things straight in their minds and never to feel embarrassed about a potential idea.  Marketers need to continuously innovate to ensure their products have sustainable competitive advantage, and making sure we have time to think is a big part of this.


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