The rate of change for technology and information is staggering, and constantly increasing. Innovation and creative thinking are important if you want to stay in the game and in business.

How do you find new ways of doing things or spark ideas for new products or services?

The sad truth is most people just aren’t able to see all the possibilities. You only know what you have personally experienced – or what a friend, colleague, or family member has experienced.

Most people aren’t able to see beyond their own blinders and are handcuffed by their limiting beliefs. The past is not always predictive of what will happen in the future, but we may think it is.

And a culture of “we’ve always done it this way” will drive your business into the ground over time.

You need to think outside the box except….

 “You always hear ‘think outside the box.’ Technically speaking, that’s actually impossible because the mind IS the box. You can’t think outside the box.”
~ Robert Ohotto

Sometimes you may be able to imagine possibilities. However, if you are able to see all of your possibilities, you may become paralyzed by the “paradox of choice,” where having too many choices actually causes you to choose nothing, get overwhelmed, and shut down.

In this case, you likely want to crawl into a box, and you might want to reach out to a professional or consultant.

All joking aside, how do you start looking for new ideas and start considering new options for your business?

Look at what similar companies are doing

What are the market leaders or fast-growth startups doing? How are they approaching the market? Is there something they are doing that could help your business?

Borrow ideas from adjacent industries

There are industries that are similar but a step removed from yours. Automotive might borrow a best practice from another type of manufacturer. Supply chain affects many types of businesses. Banking and insurance are similar.

Read leading publications

Besides trade publications that are specific to your business, you might want to look at other publications that talk about business and leadership more broadly. You might stumble across some strategy or process improvement that could have a positive impact on your business.

Join a mastermind group

Brainstorming with other smart people is fun and intellectually stimulating. Other professionals bring different personal experiences and points of view, which can be incredibly helpful for poking at your limiting beliefs, or generating new ideas.

Leverage technology

I definitely have egg on my face regarding my initial dismissal of AI technology. It is everywhere and changing all aspects of the way companies do business – even my solo business.

I hope I have inspired you to look outside of your personal box and incorporate new ideas, strategies, and technologies into your business. Have fun with this and good luck!