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Using Creative Processes For Entrepreneurial Creation

A creative entrepreneur without a guiding process is like a treasure map without a compass – all potential, but no direction. Here’s how to channel your inner innovation.

Gopal Ramasammy-Cook

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Whatever your intended creation, waiting around for some muse to fill your tanks with high-octane creative inspiration is a sure-fire recipe for disappointment. You need a light-weight, easy to apply, effective process to guide your creative action.

Zestware’s CREATE method, which I facilitate, is based on a simple and easy-to-recall acronym. CREATE expands into the following steps:

Choice: The world seldom tells us exactly what to create. We have to prioritise and choose from the numerous options available. Your creative desires, market research, and decision-making techniques are raw materials for creative choice, but there comes a time when more information does not provide greater decision-making power. If you can say with absolute certainty that a new product will be successful, your chief competitor already has the major market share. Ultimately we must choose or be damned!

Resources: Creating a resource inventory might sound like a drudgery worse than a poke in the eye with a fried hake and chips. But done in a creative way, exploring resources can be both fun and informative. List what you have, what you need, and what you must acquire. Resources include skills, personal and professional networks, materials, venues, time, and numerous other tangible and intangible requirements for bringing your creation to fruition.

Exploration and Experimentation: The world is your laboratory. Useful sources of ideas are the Internet, other people, books, magazines, newspapers, movies, and interesting places like museums and universities. Write, sketch, or prototype anything that seems relevant. Consider “problems” as design challenges, and remain open to possible solutions that emerge.

Assembly and Actualisation: Pull together everything from the previous phases and in the words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard: “Make it so!”  Challenges may arise at this stage, requiring you to revisit previous steps. That’s OK, cycling between steps keeps you creatively agile, as long as you are always moving the creation forward.

Transmission: At some point you need to Transmit your creation outwards, because the whole point of entrepreneurship is to bring value to the world. Releasing your creation to its intended target market is also a way to get valuable feedback. For every person who considers Microsoft’s Bill to be the Gates of heaven itself, there is another who would dearly like to hit him with a large rubber mallet. But it cannot be denied that Microsoft has made a sizable fortune by releasing products and using the feedback to create future versions.

Evolution?: Finally, you are faced with the choice of whether or not to evolve your creation. If is is complex, you could release a core feature-set, then evolve it by adding features through staged releases. Evolution might entail using your creation as a component for something new, and can itself be accomplished using the CREATE process.

This cyclic nature of the CREATE process reduces the stress associated with creative perfectionism. It allows you to take your best shot, and refine in a cyclic way, through real feedback rather than guesswork. Use this method to create processes, products, events, artistic works, software, web site designs, and other creations. In fact, the CREATE process was itself developed using steps similar to those described above.

Gopal Ramasammy-Cook is a member of the ICF Chapter Cape Town.The International Coach Federation, the world’s largest resource for professional coaches. He is also a Zestware coach and facilitator. For more information visit the Zestware website.

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Self Development

How You Can Make Failing Part Of Your Growth Strategy

Here’s how you can make failing forward part of your growth strategy.

Entrepreneur

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The concept of ‘fail forward’ basically means that it’s okay to fail as long as you learn from your mistakes. Once you shift your mindset regarding failure, it becomes an asset to your growth. What’s not to like about learning?

Here’s how you can make failing forward part of your growth strategy.

1. Take risks

If it’s okay to fail as long as you learn from it, then it’s okay to embrace the idea of taking more risks. Try new things and see if they’ll work. If they don’t, then at least you’ve tried and learnt.

Related: Flourishing Through Failure And Finding Fortune

2. Learn constantly

Failing and learning shouldn’t be one-offs or isolated incidents. They should weave together in a constant stream of learning that builds and rewards as we move forward. That way, we can improve and eventually succeed more often than we fail.

3. Search and reapply

Learn from each other’s mistakes. Marketing is a spectator sport — you can learn from watching each other’s brand activities — both the wins and losses.

4. Accept failure

This one is the hardest step. It’s not easy to fail. It’s not something we’re taught to do. It distracts us from our mission and it takes time away from being successful. Or does it? If you start failing forward daily, not only for yourself, but for your teams as well, you will create an environment where failing forward is accepted and embraced as part of a learning culture that seeks continuous improvement. That improvement includes actively learning from your individual and collective mistakes.

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Self Development

Listening To These 8 Audiobooks On Success Is A Better Use Of Your Long Commute

Commuting is mostly just unpaid work, unless you make an effort to learn something along the way.

John Boitnott

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Commutes are getting longer, and in some cities they’re up to two hours each way. I have a friend in Los Angeles who does this. He passes the time with audiobooks. Now that’s still a lot of time to be stuck in transit, but he doesn’t view it that way. He says it allows him plenty of time to feed his personal and professional goals.

I’ve spent years listening to literature in the car while commuting, but somewhere along the line I switched over to books on business and personal improvement. I mostly gravitated toward amazing people who built their success from scratch and who experienced tremendous hardship. It stands to reason that if you’re dealing with hardships like a long commute, it’s important to hear motivational words that can help you transcend the difficulties.

Here are eight audiobooks that will help grow your success, both personal and professional, on your next commute:

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Self Development

3 Questions To Guide You To Success In 2018

Most of the goals we set have some external component to it. Some component that we cannot control. Yet, we act like we can.

Erik Kruger

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3 Questions To Guide You To Success In 2018

Goal setting as a concept makes perfect sense. At the most basic level you decide on the destination and then plot the way to get there. But as with many things, we like to overcomplicate that which should be simple.

Before you know it, you end up with 2 big goals in 15 different areas of your life and 100 micro goals that will help you reach your 30 big goals.

Complicating something simple. Some of the biggest obstacles to people in reaching their goals are:

  • The overestimate the effort it will take to achieve those goals
  • They want to go from 0-100km/h in the blink of an eye
  • Life is dynamic and static goals often do not make sense
  • They get so entrenched in the day to day running of things that goals get pushed aside.

What if instead of goals, we just focused on giving our best every day?

Of course, you still want to have an indication of where you are going.

But, if you are giving your 100% every day then you can forego the micro goals for a better way of calibrating your compass… using questions.

Related: Goal Setting Guide

I suggest you ask yourself these three questions regularly:

1. What does better look like?

The question at the heart of development and incremental improvement. This question allows you some creative space in which you can imagine a better future.

  • What does better health look like?
  • What does a better business look like?
  • What does better customer service look like?
  • What does better leadership look like?

By reflecting on this question, you materialise the gap between where you are and where you could be. Now, the only thing that is left is to align your daily actions with the better future you imagined.

2. What can I control?

Borrowed from Stoicism this question highlights the power of decision in your life. Epictetus said we should always be asking ourselves: “Is this something that is, or is not, in my control?”

Once you ask this of yourself regularly you will feel more in control of your life and more in control of your business.

Why?

Because your focus is solely on the things that you can influence. It restores the belief that you can actually impact the world around you in a meaningful way.

3. Was I impeccable with my actions today?

One inherent flaw with goal setting is that the goal setter often feels judged. As if we need more of that. In addition to the constant negative self-talk we have to endure we now have an additional source of judgement – whether we reached our goals or not.

As we discovered in question #2 We cannot control everything. Most of the goals we set have some external component to it. Some component that we cannot control. Yet, we act like we can.

So, instead of judging yourself, commit to giving your best every single day.

Related: The Tim Ferriss Approach to Setting Goals: Rig the Game so You Win


Accountability

What I love most about these questions is that they provide a built-in layer of accountability. Use them every day.

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