Spiking Your Creative Problem-Solving Juice

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an exercise to challenge your problem solving skills. Reading time: 2:45

        You are the marketing director for a major producer of bath soap. Sales are lagging particularly among consumers with young children.

        ivory2Research shows that children perceive that the bath soap will burn their eyes. Yet the facts are clear: the opposite is true.

       Tests confirm that the soap will NOT burn their eyes. Yet the perception persists and sales continue to lag. What do you do to enhance sales of this bath soap particularly to consumers with young children?

      You lead. Creatively. soapJust like Edward Bernays did in the 1920s to help
Procter & Gamble sell more bars of Ivory soap.

       Bernays, the father of the public relations profession, donated large cakes of the soap to art schools in 1925 to use in sculpture competitions sponsored by Procter & Gamble.

      Invariably young sculptors would inadvertently put their soap-covered fingers in their eyes. Then they personally discovered that the soap did not burn their eyes.

      Soap sales for bath washing (and art) zoomed after that leadership decision to spike their creative problem-solving juice. Continue reading “Spiking Your Creative Problem-Solving Juice”

Creativity: Milking Mother Nature For Ideas

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

 Here’s an idea to rev up your creative engines by taking a walk in a field. Reading time: 3:02

            Go ahead. Play hooky from the office. You owe it to your creative thought process. Still feeling guilty? Read on. Learn how three very creative leaders became outstanding in their field by literally STANDING OUT in their field.

cow leftside

Grant Wood masterpiece
Grant Wood’s “American Gothic”masterpiece

        Consider the teenager who stood out in a field and watched the harvesting of hay — row by row. He invented the television. The rows of hay gave Philo T. Farnsworth the idea of scanning and displaying a picture – row by row-on the television screen.

         A Swiss engineer also stood out in a field and subsequently invented Velcro. Georges de Mestral, using a microscope in 1941,  noticed how the hooks on the burrs and loops in the cotton fabric in his socks stuck together after he took a walk into the woods.

       Then consider the teenager, who at 14, ran a successful nail manufacturing business. One day he stood out in a field and subsequently invented the cotton gin. Eli Whitney got the idea of the claw-like machine that would pull the cotton fiber through a fence-like grid by observing a fox clawing through the chicken coop after a chicken and getting nothing but feathers.

      That field-day of the innovating proved productive and profitable. Consider the fields a place to field your fortune. After all, Grant Wood — the bucolic artist of such masterpieces at American Gothic--said he got his greatest ideas while milking cows!  Continue reading “Creativity: Milking Mother Nature For Ideas”

Zigging When Everyone Else is Zagging

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you enhance your counter-intuitive skills. Reading time: 3:10.

            Your project is spinning its wheels. You’re out of time. Out of money. Out of ideas. And out of patience. Now what? Try zigging whenever else is zagging. Do an about-face. Take the proverbial 180-degree turn. Stop! In order to better GO!

Dick Fosbury high jumps to record height

          Need some inspiration to ignite your counter-intuitive creative performance skills? Let’s visit with a couple of Olympic champions to help you shift your creative gears in your competitive drive.

           Imagine you’re a high jumper in the Olympics. Your focus has to be on your  legs.  On your jumping muscles. On your technique to soar over the bar. Legs firsts. Head down.

          Yet Dick Fosbury ignited his counter-intuitive creative performance skills and won the Olympic Gold medal in 1968 jumping HEAD FIRST and backwards with this signature Fosbury Flop that revolutionized the high jump. He jumped more than a foot over his 6-foot-4 height to set an Olympic record.

          Zig when other zag.

         Leaders readily accept and embrace counter-intuitive thinking. For example, leaders know of course that the best way to get out of quicksand is to counter-intuitively lie down. Your body can float on quicksand. You can then roll over to firm ground. Zig when others zag.

         And leaders also know– counter-intuitively –that you photograph portraits with a lens capable of shooting from hundreds of feet away–ironically even though the face of the person you are photographing– is only a few feet away. The zoom telephoto lens narrows the field of focus and enriches the quality of the photo. Zig when others zag.

                  Continue reading “Zigging When Everyone Else is Zagging”

Beyond Experience: Keeping It Real & Relevant

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to enhance your confidence. Reading time: 2:56.

             In a leadership review meeting, an executive complained that the candidate lacked experience. “Wait a minute,” objected another executive, “he’s got at least 10 years experience with his former company. “Yeah, right,” demurred the executive, “More like one year of experience 10 times.”

             Leaders know they have to keep it real. Every day is a new experience. Not a redo or a redux but a rekindling and rejuvenating; a renewal and revival.

            Leaders step on the platform of yesterday only to soar higher today without paying too much attention to past limitations.

          Consider Charles Lindbergh. He became the first to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean even though he had never flown half as far as he did over those 33.5 hours from New York to Paris 1927. Lindbergh, at 25, didn’t know what he didn’t know and proceeded onward with an insight, with a vision, with a mission burning and yearning within him of youthful exuberance. Lindbergh called it “the poet’s eye.” Continue reading “Beyond Experience: Keeping It Real & Relevant”

Innovation: Turning An Irritant Into A Pearl

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you turn a bad experience into a creative idea. Reading time: 2:13

             The melting carton of ice cream oozed all over the seat in the row boat. The faster he rowed, the quicker the ice cream seemed to melt along with his visions of a fun picnic on the island with his girlfriend.

         A 15-minute rowing trip turned into an hour struggle against changing winds and waves.

    And Ole Evinrude got mad.

      He took that irritant of having to fight those waves with only a rowing paddle and turned that grueling and frustrating experience into a pearl of innovation. He engineered the boating industry’s first outboard motor.

          That’s what creative leaders do. They take ordinary problems and turn them into extraordinary innovations Continue reading “Innovation: Turning An Irritant Into A Pearl”