September 17, 2018

Creative solutions to my business challenges

Brian Walker can be contacted at If you have a question for an ACE expert, contact Jim Milliken at

The Association for Consulting Expertise (ACE) is a non-profit association of independent consultants who value "Success through Collaboration." The public is welcome to attend its regular meetings to share best practices and engage with industry experts. For more information go to

Q: How can I come up with creative solutions to my business challenges?

ACE advises: You have the ability to hone your skill of generating new ideas to solve problems. Try these approaches:

  • Be more aware of your thinking: While we regularly have new thoughts, we fail to acknowledge and apply them to our challenges. Be aware of your thinking and jot down doodles/notes – you will see new solution options!
  • Deconstruct and reconstruct: If you are working on a challenge, deconstruct the challenge, and explore its component parts. Try solving a little piece of the puzzle and repeat. Solution patterns will emerge, guiding you to new ideas.
  • Converse with someone who doesn't know your topic: Discuss your challenge and have the person ask questions and offer up completely off-the-wall ideas. Use the fresh perspective to gain new vantage points and generate new ideas.
  • Use all five of your senses: Most humans rely on sight as their main information gathering sense. Try thinking about your challenge through your other senses: What comes to mind?
  • Immerse yourself in your subject matter: Literally. Are you trying to come up with new food product ideas? Handle the ingredients, explore the manufacturing process, visit the distribution, talk to users and haters of the category. The varied stimuli will provide new vantages for creative solutions.
  • Create 'forced' connections: Develop new ideas by linking your challenge to something totally unrelated. Write down random words from the dictionary. Then see if you can link them to your challenge for a fresh perspective.

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