How to Think More Creatively and Innovate as a Solopreneur

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On Friday, 15 October, 25 female founders and women in business came together to learn how to innovate as solopreneurs.

As the Workshop Leader for this particular Thrive Workshop funded by Enjoolata Foundation, I was excited to showcase my passion for innovation within small businesses, and share some of the lessons I have learnt from advising and mentoring 100s of solopreneurs and small businesses to start, innovate and grow. I also reflected on my own experience innovating within Thrive over the past 3 years.

During the first part of the workshop, we discussed the importance of being creative in business, and how stepping away from the norm is the first building block of innovation.

We shared what helps us to think more creatively, and I talked about some of my favourite techniques, those being:

  • Be visionary: Visualise your end-goal, and the path you need to take in order to get there.
  • Think ‘What if…’: Imagine ‘What if I were to…’ in order to remove any self-limiting beliefs you have.
  • Be curious: Ask ‘Why?’: Question the norm, and ask ‘Why?’ repeatedly in order to get to the root of a problem.
  • Change your routine: Disrupt your daily thinking by mixing things up, and changing elements of your routine (such as taking a different route to work or for the school run, or visiting a different coffee shop etc.).
  • Use random prompts: Use random words or images to jump onto a completely different track or line of thinking.
  • Go for a walk: Research from Stanford University (2014) found that going for regular walks boosts your creative thinking - even once you have returned from that walk.
  • Use SCAMPER: Use tools like SCAMPER to mix up or eliminate elements of a product or problem in order to come up with something different.
  • Ignite your Innovator’s DNA: Following the recommendations of Dyer, Gregersen and Christensen (2012) - question, observe, “ideas-network”, and experiment in order to enhance your creative thinking capabilities.
  • Give yourself a break: Allow time for your ideas to incubate.

During the workshop, I also discussed the different areas where businesses innovate, sharing examples of how businesses of all sizes have innovated successfully. I also introduced the workshop participants to a range of practical tools which small business owners can use to generate and analyse their ideas.

I concluded the workshop with some final pieces of advice for those who are in the midst of their innovation journey or who are considering implementing new ideas within their business or place of work:

  • Make time to be creative and innovate.
  • Apply design thinking skills.
  • Listen to your customers.
  • Innovate something of (personal, economic or social) value.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Don’t sit on your ideas.
  • Take small steps.
  • Protect your intellectual property.
  • Learn from your mistakes.
  • Believe in yourself.

Friday’s workshop was part of the Thrive Workshop Series 2021, made possible thanks to Enjoolata Foundation.

Our next Thrive Workshop is on ‘How to Super-Charge Your Social Media’, on Friday, 19 November from 10am until 12pm on Zoom. Tickets will be released soon. In the meantime, save the date!

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