June 24

A few years ago, I was asked by an organization to help them rethink their brand and how they communicate their story to others. As part of the engagement, I sent the team out into the surrounding neighborhood with a few instructions:

►You are allowed to snap five photos that—in sequence—tell the story of your brand.

►You may not use anything (symbols, language, signs) that is currently a part of how you talk about yourself and the brand.

►You must all agree on the five photos you choose.

I sent them out, and after ninety minutes, they returned to share what they’d discovered on their trek. One by one, the group shared their photos and the story they told. Each presentation was completely unique, and at the end, we had a trove of words, images, phrases, and sentiments that were previously absent from the conversation. The simple act of venturing out into the neighborhood to spark new insights had pushed everyone outside their mental ruts.

You can do this same exercise for product development, market- ing, writing, designing, or any other kind of creative project where you need some fresh thinking. When you’re stuck, it can be helpful to explore ideas through different media. If you’re a writer, draw or photograph it. If you’re a designer, write it out. It will force you to think about the problem in new ways.

It’s often beneficial to force yourself to explore ideas through different media.

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