Sunday, 30 May 2021

Supercharge your business idea with the 3C Creativity Tool

Do you want to start your own business or improve your existing business? If so, this article is for you. It does not matter what the core concept is. Be it a vegan restaurant, facemask business or yodelling classes. You have a choice to make. What is it that will make you unique? What will make you stand out from all the competition? 

You can always aim at outperforming everyone in quality, amazing service, locally sourced bio produce, or the best fabric. This is all well and good but it is unoriginal, and to be honest a bit boring. I want you to challenge yourself. 

Sit down with a pen and paper and try to push your idea to the next level. Create something unique that was not done before or at least something that was not done before in a particular, unique combination. For short, I refer to it as the 3C Tool. The below points will help you through this process.

1. Complimentary unique combination 

In this step, you are challenged to find unique idea combinations to create extra value. Add to your idea something that fits well with your initial idea. Start with a simple exercise that will let you brainstorm as many ideas as possible. Even better, play this game with someone else. There is only one rule; no idea is judged at this stage. All are written down. 

Play a game with words associations.  Visualize and write down your initial idea, for example ''vegan restaurant". Do not limit yourself to ideas that are related to food. You can add anything that comes to your mind such as; yoga, avocado plants, mediation, mandalas, juices etc. After you create a list of associations, create a new list. The second list will focus on how the concept can work with the initial idea e.g. a vegan restaurant where customers can colour mandalas while waiting for food, a vegan restaurant with food presented in mandala shapes, vegan restaurants that use mandalas on plates etc. Once you are done, read an article on how to evaluate your ideas and choose the best one

Example of success: A local business called "Gin & Tapas'' offers, yes that is right, gin and tapas. What’s more, everyone knows them and everyone loves this unique combination. Their restaurant stands out and is very memorable. They combined two complimentary ideas and it was a hit. 

Another example is Mystery & Makeup YouTube channel by Bailey Sarian. Bailey shares gruesome crime stories combined with a make-up tutorial. Who would have thought of that? She did, and she did it so well that her videos have around 4 million views each. This unique combination makes her stand out from the crowd. Moreover, she figured out what her female audience liked: crime stories and makeup. This combination may seem random, but it is complimentary thanks to a deep understanding of her audience. 

2. Contradictory unique combination 

Contradictory combinations work on the same principle as complimentary ones. The only difference is that you will come up with ideas that are somewhat contradictory to your initial concept. This exercise is a little difficult so the game has slightly different rules. 

Game: First, come up with 3 words that you consider contradictory to your initial idea. Write these down in 3 separate columns, then write down word associations to the 3 contradictory words. If we stick with the example of a vegan restaurant, three contradictory words are e.g. meat-eaters, barbecue, hunter. Underneath the meat-eater category, the associated words are e.g. animals, meat-flavour, traditional & festive dishes. Underneath barbecue, the word associations are e.g. summer, beers, chicken wings, burgers, barbecue sauce. Underneath the hunter category, the words are e.g. masculine, strong, rough. 

The next step is the same as in the previous game. Start creating unique combinations from your ''contradictory'' list, e.g. a vegan restaurant that specialized in traditional meals, but with a vegan twist; a vegan restaurant that focuses on attracting meat-eaters; a vegan restaurant that has rescued rabbits living in the restaurant; a vegan restaurant that combines craft beers with vegan burgers; or a vegan restaurant that is decorated in posters of some hard-core looking tattooed men who are vegan. 

Example of success: Beyond Meat took the vegan world by storm. The company did not try to compete with other vegan products; instead, its aim was to position itself as an alternative to meat and attract the meat-eaters. That is combining some contradictions. Today it is recognized as one of the most innovative companies in the food industry & a leader in the vegan food industry. Today its estimated value is anywhere between $12 billion and $18 billion, and it is expected to become the next $40 billion food company (at least according to 

3. 'Crazy' random unique combination 

Here, the main aim is to explore uncharted territory and come up with a novel idea that was unlikely used before. In this case, the game is slightly different from the previous two versions. 

Write down three unique words that come to your mind. If you want to challenge yourself even more, use a random word generator. Beneath your three words, list the associated words that you can come up with. After that work again on creating unique combinations with your initial idea. My three words from the generator were: trainer, language and singer.  If we stick with the example of a vegan restaurant, some combined ideas are a vegan restaurant that offers cooking lessons, a vegan restaurant that shares recipes, a vegan restaurant that offers vegan dishes from my travels around the world, and a vegan restaurant with dishes inspired by famous singers etc. 

Example of success: Rainbow bagels are a so-called 'must-have' if you visit Brooklyn. Scot Rossillo, who calls himself ''World’s Premier Bagel Artist'', combined art with bread. This unique idea combines two very unrelated topics. Rainbow Bagels business skyrocketed when their colourful bagels hit Instagram. 

Important takeaway: When you come up with ideas for your business, especially if you are in the restaurant business, always consider what may be "instagramable''. 

After the 3 exercises, you will end up with quite a list of unique ideas that can help you stand out in the industry. The next (equally important) step is to evaluate and pick the idea with the most potential

Here is an example how you can use 3C creativity tool. 
Download your free copy of the 3C tool from Dropbox. It may take a minute before it loads.

What are other examples of creative ideas that use a complimentary, contradictory, or random combination? Leave a comment below.


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