2 Ways to Improve Your Imagination

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Use your imagination to propel your business forward.

As a social businessperson, as a social entrepreneur, one of your key defining factors is the use of your imagination when developing business ideas.

Harnessing that power of your imagination – the power to “think outside the box”, to think laterally – is the way to go if you want to be solving social issues, and you want to be solving them in an innovative way.

Now, I’ve got 2 tips for you in the way that you can harness and grow your own imagination.

1. Think of Opposites

One of the ways is to think of a problem. Think of a problem as it is and think of it in the worst possible way that you can. Think of all the different aspects of it that could just go absolutely wrong. And then, use your imagination. Close your eyes and then think of the absolute opposite of that – the absolute opposite where everything would be actually completely solved. Where instead of it being the worst, imagine the circumstances for which it could be, for it to be the best. Now that’s one way to use your imagination and one effective way for you to solve problems laterally.

2. Mixing Concepts Together

A second way that you could use your imagination is to think of a concept and then think of a totally different concept. Just try and be crazy with this. Now think of the characteristics of one concept. Let’s think of a concept like an elephant. An elephant is big and strong. It’s got tusks, it’s exotic, it’s a creature, it’s powerful. You think of all those characteristics, and then think of another’s characteristics. Maybe it’s the solution you’re trying to find. And then try and mix the characteristics together.

Imagine A Better World

You can mix the characteristics for your product or for your service. By mixing totally different concepts together, you can create a totally new and different experience in the world.

You can be a creator by just using your imagination and deliver this through your business ideas.

My challenge to you, through your imagination, is to imagine a better world by imagining better solutions.

Create Something Remarkable

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Make a product and make a service that is remarkable using new business ideas.

My message for you today is: If you’re going to be creating a social enterprise and you’re going to be competing out there in the marketplace (especially for ‘for-profit social enterprises’ but even for ‘not-for-profit social enterprises’ or even NGOs), you really need to be creating something remarkable. Something that stands out. Something that makes a difference.

Leading Your Field by Being Remarkable

For social businesses, creating something remarkable is the way to go if ever you want to be the one leading – leading your field.

Now, you ask yourself: How is it that you can make something remarkable?

Well, it doesn’t begin with your marketing. If you have a product or you have a service, but it itself is bland and ordinary and not fit for actually achieving something great, then marketing will just add extra costs to your company or your organization.

Innovate Beyond Your Limits

My challenge to you is: If you want to create a product and service that is remarkable, and through that service and product, to change the world, I urge you to innovate – to really look at the edge.

Look at the limits of trying to make your new business ideas, service or product faster, better, grander, more unique. And through that, you will get an even bigger customer base. You will get, through your product, eyes looking at you and observing you, wondering what are you trying to do and being amazed. Through this, you will get a greater sense of sustainability in your social business.

So my message to you is: Be remarkable.

Be a Leader, Not a Follower

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As a social entrepreneur who’s wanting to go out there and make a social impact through business ideas, I urge you to be a leader.

Followers ‘follow’ the status quo

Followers often ‘follow’ the status quo. They’re okay with how things are. They also have a sense of a lack of responsibility. They don’t take responsibility for things because they’re just following their leader, their authority.

If you want to be someone who challenges the status quo in order to innovate and create change – in order to make things better – not only for your business or for yourself, but for the people and for the community around you, be a leader.

Leadership and taking responsibility

Being a leader means taking responsibility for yourself and your actions.

Now when I say “be a leader”, I don’t necessarily mean that you have to be someone who heads your own company, heads your own social business. Although many social entrepreneurs do, I admit that.

But being a leader doesn’t necessarily mean you have that title, you have authority. You can be a leader within your own NGO, government organization, in your own social business, or even in your own company pushing forward a corporate social responsibility agenda. And being a leader, in that sense, can mean taking responsibility for how things are, taking responsibility for the problems that you see, and realizing that you have the power to then change them.

And changing them may not be an easy thing. Of course, change is often a difficult thing, and there are always barriers especially the ‘old guard’ and their resistance to that change.

But it all starts with you taking responsibility and having the identity, first and foremost, of you yourself being a leader. Not a follower. You should then create business ideas that allow you to encourage growth of your identity.

Get Disturbed to Get Yourself Moving

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Getting disturbed

If you’re out there in the world and you’re walking around, you’re observing, you’re experiencing, and you see something, you hear something, you get affected by something. This is how business ideas come about.

And you in your mind, in your heart, believe that it’s wrong – that it’s not meant to be this way – you’re getting disturbed.

Avoid feeling disturbed?

Now getting disturbed for most people can be a problem: something that they want to disassociate from.

But I’m here to tell you that whenever you come to a point when you do feel disturbed, when you do feel hurt, I’m saying nourish it. I’m not saying get stuck in it forever, but what I am saying is appreciate that feeling – the feeling of being disturbed, the feeling of being impacted and affected. Because by being impacted, and by being disturbed and affected, you can really feel the emotion that can and will drive you.

If you’re really affected and you want to change something, and you want to do something about it, this is what I recommend: Instead of just leaving it alone and ignoring it, write it down. Write down in clear detail what disturbs you, what affects you, what is a problem in the world, what is a social mess.

Write down what disturbs you & find solutions

Write it down so it’s clear: what you want to solve.

So the purpose of it is not so much to dwell on it. The purpose of it is to find the problem, define it, and then my friends, the next step will be to find the solution.

To then look at the problem in a rational way, and in a contained way, as you’ve written it, and then think of the opposite.

That, my friends, will bring you a lot of power as a social entrepreneur and really help guide you to develop business ideas that do good.

3 Steps to Taking Action

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There are 3 major steps that you should take as a social entrepreneur to find a problem and then make a solution when it comes to business ideas:

1. Get Disturbed

Find a problem out there in the world and get disturbed. What I mean by that is this: Feel it. Observe it. Get the Emotion to drive you, and to drive your organization. Through those emotions, and through that hurt and pain, it can move you to action.

2. Be Clear On What You Want

Be clear on the vision. Don’t get stuck being disturbed. Don’t get stuck on the negativity. Move on from that and look at the opposite.

“What if?” – Look at it in those kinds of terms.

For example:
What if it were impossible to fail?
What if it was better than how it is right now?

Overall, don’t get stuck on the hurt. Focus on the vision. Focus on the positive. Be optimistic and be clear about it. Write your vision down.

3. Make an Action Plan

Once you’re clear on the vision, and once you’ve gotten disturbed, and moved from that and you’ve become optimistic with a vision for the future, then make an action plan.

Make detailed steps from your vision. Think about it and feel what you need to do in order to achieve that vision, to change things and to transform your circumstances right now.

If you do these 3 steps, you’re going to go out there and you’re going to change something. You’re going to make something out of yourself and make an impact in the world through using your business ideas for good.