Stuck in a rut? Josh Linkner shared a few ways entrepreneurs can boost their teams' creativity, and use big ideas to beat out big competition.
"Stop competing on price and start competing on imagination," Josh Linkner told attendees at the Inc. Leadership conference in Miami on June 8. Linkner, who founded online promotions company ePrize and is CEO of Detroit Venture Partners, is no stranger to out-there tactics: He once dreamed up a fictional competitor (called "Slither") that forever beat his company to new clients and sales goals. The threat of Slither forced it to cook up new ways to evolve its products and increase business.
At the conference, Linkner shared a few ways entrepreneurs can boost their teams' creativity, and use big ideas to beat out big competition:
Linkner also suggested a few exercises to get your team's creative juices flowing:
Make a Movie Scene. Find a photo from a magazine or online, and ask people to imagine what's happening if it were a snapshot of a scene in a movie. At the conference, he showed attendees a photo of a woman, cell phone in hand, looking back from the driver's seat of her car at something behind her. Is she being followed? Or telling her kids to be quiet? Starting with a just-for-fun exercise like this, "really brings up the energy in the room," he said.
Role-storming. Grab nametags, and tell each member of the team to pick a character—it can be Steve Jobs, Kim Kardashian, or a character from a book or film. "I like movie villains best," Linkner said. Then have them brainstorm ideas as if they were that person. "All of the sudden they're thinking in a radically different way," he says—and that liberates staff to come up with inventive ideas without hesitation.