Escaping the daily rut and re-thinking the way we do our jobs might be the most urgent order of business in our day.
That’s not exactly a newsflash, but what most tuned-in business owners realize is that the excessively hectic lives we lead are not conducive to innovative thinking.
So here’s something that I’m committing to do in 2012 and perhaps you should too.
Get involved in a small engagement team
Recently I had the pleasure of stealing some time away to have breakfast with a group of entrepreneurs and social media experts from Montgomery County, Maryland – Shashi Bellamkonda – Social Media Swami at Network Solutions; Nakeva Corothers – photography expert and founder of The Nakeva Network; Patrick O’brien – Social Media Manager at Gannett; Kevin Fawley – Director of Social Media at Somego; Chef K.N.Vinod – owner of Indique Heights (Chevy Chase, MD) and Bombay Bistro (Rockville, MD); and DC productivity expert Kim Oser of Need Another You.com.
One of the things that was clear from the beginning was that it wasn’t enough to just sit at the table and exchange ideas. The goal was for each person to borrow three ideas that they found most interesting and to develop a plan of action around them over the next couple of months.
In our group of 7, three core ideas were considered. Dubbed the ‘beg, brag and what-if’ approach, each one of us was asked to discuss;
- a business challenge that we’re facing, and to ask for help or ideas to overcome that challenge
- a major accomplishment we have achieved recently
- a ‘what-if’ scenario that challenges the way that we think about or do business
Benefits of small engagement teams
Through this insightful exchange we were able to entertain new ideas and imagine different ways of doing things. The ‘what-if’ scenarios were particularly helpful in sparking the imagination.
Even for a seasoned entrepreneur, I think the time and effort invested in a smaller engagement team offers tremendous benefits:
- It enables a creative idea-sharing culture
- It promotes accountability
- You learn from shared experiences
- You initiate new business relationships or deepen old ones
- You get to listen – really listen.
After hearing everyone speak, I came away with four important lessons:
- Don’t always ask the obvious questions
- Don’t be afraid to re-think the traditional methods we use in business
- Innovative ideas aren’t always new – Most great ideas are just a mash-up of existing ones applied to our specific set of circumstances.
- Don’t wait! As soon as you get back to work, start implementing learned ideas immediately. The sooner you experiment and test them, the sooner you’ll know whether they work or not.
In 2012, I plan on making time to meet with this group on a regular basis at the Montgomery County Social Media Breakfast – #mocosmb.
What about you? How do you come up with new ideas? Do you have a process? Does it involve other people? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.
Image credit: Nakeva Corothers