My 5 step creative process
What I know for sure…
I know for sure that unless businesses have a wealth of resources, cash and people, getting potentially great ideas off the ground can be a big challenge. By taking some short but focused time out to pause, reflect, prioritise and plan, we can increase our chances of success of implementing and monetising our best ideas.
Download my free 2019 Business Roadmap Playbook that accompanies this article now.
Why I wrote this article
The purpose of this article is to provide you with an opportunity to stop and think about what you have learned in 2018 and what you want from 2019. Specifically, my focus here is on how you can get more ideas off the ground more quickly when you’re also most likely dealing with the challenges of running the company, managing people, growing sales and providing a positive experience for your existing customers.
I have a huge experience of designing and running away days, hackathons, sprints and conferences! I first discovered the potential and creative opportunity that can be achieved from helping people to think differently together when I did my Masters in Business Administration several years ago. I learned then that it is important and very possible to tap into the creative potential of people to form better outcomes – and once I started I became absolutely hooked!
Since then I have designed and delivered workshops, playbooks and business planning resources for literally thousands of entrepreneurs in all sorts of industries, all over the world, and I have honestly loved every single minute of working with my delegates.
My goal here is to provide you with a 2019 Business Roadmap Playbook that you can either complete in peace and quiet in your own, or work through with colleagues and / or suppliers and associates.
The activities in the playbook will take no more than 2 hours to complete if you work through them intuitively. You don’t need to complete everything in one go – you can work on one activity at a time, with a break in between. Each activity takes between 10 and 40 minutes, depending on the task.
I recommend that you complete them in the order shown here and in your playbook because they are designed to combine to create an end-to-end process.
It is likely that you will want to come back at a later date to add in more details and refine your thinking once you’ve completed the process. The activities in the playbook will have got you thinking, and your mind will be incubating more thoughts and ideas as a result.
How you and your business will benefit from these activities
Your 2019 Business Roadmap Playbook will guide you through an enjoyable, thought-provoking creative process that will help you to:
- Create a clear vision for what you want from 2019.
- Reflect on 2018 to identify lessons learned and recognise successes.
- Find ways to overcome some of the things that are getting in the way, and leverage the positives.
- Put together a high level roadmap to get your business from where it is now to where you want it to be.
Apart from stationery, people and a place to sit and think away from it all, everything you need is included in the toolkit. I’ve designed it so that you can work through it in just a couple of hours.
You are very welcome to email me direct at if you have any specific questions about this toolkit, and I’d love to hear from you.
Go slower to go faster
‘Go slower to go faster’ is a phrase often used by one of my clients in the retail sector. We can be ‘so busy being busy’ that it’s hard to look forwards, upwards and outwards, and see what it would help us to stop, start and continue to make faster, more productive and profitable progress. It’s tempting in the midst of business-as-usual challenges to just keep adding in more and more initiatives, without thinking about how we either grow capacity to deliver them, or stop doing other things to make space for them. The couple of hours that you invest in stopping to think will generate a healthy return for you by giving you even greater clarity and focus.
The top takeaways from this article are that:
- Investing some time to stop and think generates a positive return by creating improved focus and clarity.
- You don’t need a lot of time, and there are great tools and techniques which can help you.
- Tools and techniques can also help you to think differently and get fresh perspectives on your business, and new solutions to problems, challenges and opportunities.
Here’s an overview
For your roadmap activities, I’ve created a process using a series of 5 specially selected activities designed to help you think about your business from a fresh perspective, efficiently, effectively and enjoyably.
Download the free 2019 Business Roadmap Playbook that accompanies this article for all the tools and templates you need to do this. You will get full instructions for each activity in the playbook.
- Did you know that Pixar creates over 4,000 storyboard drawings as the blueprint for the action and dialogue of teach of heir feature-length animated films? They are revised many times during the creative development process. You will begin with the storyboarding technique, but won’t need to do 4,000 drawings! Here’s video showing the storyboard process for Toy Story. You will reflect on what you have learned and achieved in 2018. Estimated completion time: 20 minutes.
- Next, you will consider where you want for each area of your business to be at this time next year. To achieve a balanced vision for 2019 you will consider these areas: leadership, financial performance, customer experience, internal processes, your team and / or network and your products or services. You will use the Aspirations and Results tool to do this. Estimated completion time: 40 minutes.
- The next step will be to populate a high level roadmap with the significant events affecting your business that you know will happen next year. Some prompts to consider are:
– Political events – such as Brexit!
– Contract end or renewal dates for your existing or potential customers
– Contract end or renewal dates for key suppliers
– Conferences and exhibitions that you are planning
– Important financial reporting and payment dates
– Industry events
– School holidays that may impact your business
– Seasonal events that may impact your business
Estimated completion time: 20 minutes
- To get from where you are now to where you want to be, you will consider the significant things you will need to stop, start and continue to achieve your aspirations, and add these into your roadmap as key themes. Estimated completion time: 10 minutes
- Now it’s time to populate your roadmap with a bit more detail. You will work top down following this structure. Estimated completion time: 30 minutes.
- Identify the 3 key power moves that will help you make the most progress. As the saying goes, it’s easy to create transformation, you just need to know the best place to put the stick of dynamite.
- Break each of your 3 key power moves into 3 smaller actions, complete with a target deadline.
- Decide what you will do both this week and before the end of the calendar year to give yourself a great head start for 2019.
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