I (Amy) just got back from Teesside University’s Business Exchange event with incredible guest speaker Guy Browning, the man dubbed ‘David Attenborough of the business jungle’ – and that he (surprisingly) was!
The humorous entrepreneur, who has helped big brand names such as Gap, Muller and Durex develop creative business ideas, engaged us in seconds – we were completely hooked.
I think I can speak (or write in this case) for almost everyone at the occasion today when I say Guy was a true inspiration – not like the typical stuffy narrow minded business people who usually preach to you at these types of things.
The packed room was buzzing and after we all just wanted to get back to base, spread his wise and witty words and carry out his action points.
So for all my fellow North East professionals, who didn’t manage to make it out the office this morning, I thought it only fair to share his creative business wisdom with you – unfortunately I can’t share the full English breakfast, which was just as good (Thanks Teesside University)!
1. Partner people precisely
Holding brainstorming sessions with people in the same department as one another doesn’t automatically mean there will be a good outcome. It’s important to partner people precisely – put people together who think the same, it will accelerate their ideas and you’ll be left with a more creative outcome.
It’s also vital to note, don’t confuse personality with imagination – the loudest mouth in the room isn’t always the most innovative. Introverts often have some juicy ideas bubbling in their heads!
2. Think lateral not literal
“Don’t ever go with what’s familiar, go with what’s completely different” – and Guy’s point made a lot of sense. Think laterally not literally. Your brain will always come up with ideas you’ve already thought of – unless you decide to think in a different way.
As Albert Einstein said: “You can’t solve a problem with the same thinking that created it.”
3. Big brand thoughts
Don’t limit yourself just because you’re an SME or one band business. When you’re conjuring creativity or trying to solve a problem, ask yourself: “What would BMW do? What would McDonald’s do? What would Coca Cola do?” Get those big brand thoughts flowing.
4. There’s nothing wrong with being emotional
Guy said: “Don’t change the product, change the emotional space around it” – if a cigarette was pink and stubby not as many people would smoke. Make your product irresistible, let people enjoy it and feel good about having it.
5. Listening is key
We’ve all heard the saying and quote: “Give the people what they want and they will give you what you want”. Listen to people, their needs, their sensitivities and their desires and in turn you can give them what they want and what they will buy.
“The quality of your input reflects the quality of your output” (Guy) – so listen and absorb.
Guy ended the entertaining session saying: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” – If you don’t have the right working culture and the right people, you have nothing.
Give people a space to think, reward them for thinking differently and never make people feel silly. Remember, leadership sets culture, so you can never blame your workforce, you can only blame yourself. Follow Guy’s advice, change your culture today and risk increased turnover, engagement and fun – how scary?!