Explore Other Niches to Spur Creative Thinking

Photo by destinelee

In my last blog post, I wrote about unleashing creativity by blending your niche with another niche. In a similar vein, here is a creative exercise from Dan Pink’s A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future. He writes on pages 150 and 151:

One of my favorite exercises in conceptual blending is the “newstand roundup.” If you’re stymied on how to solve a problem, or just want to freshen your thinking, visit the largest newsstand you can find. Spend twenty minutes browsing – and select ten publications that you’ve never read and would likely never buy. That’s the key: buy magazines you never noticed before. Then take some time to look through them. You don’t have to read every page of every magazine. But get a sense of what the magazine is about and what its readers have on their minds. Then look for connections to your own work or life. For instance, when I did this exercise, I figured out a better way to craft my business cards thanks to something I saw in Cake Decorating – and came up with a new idea for a newsletter because of an article in Hair for You. Warning: your spouse might give you uncomfortable looks when come home toting Trailer Life, Teen Cosmo, and Divorce Magazine.

Alternatively, if you’re lazy like me, you can capture the essence of Pink’s exercise by visiting sites in niches unrelated to your niche.

Creative thinking is out of the box thinking. This means you need to step out of the box, or your comfort zone. Once you’re out of your comfort zone, you’re much more likely to come up with something conceptually unique.

Exploring other niches forces you out of the status quo. It makes you look at things from different perspectives.

I tried this exercise on the net. I realized I should add more pictures on my gaming blog by seeing the myriad of pictures on a fashion blog. A wedding blog post reminded me that telling a story about my life helps me connect to my audience. This dating article gave me an idea for a gaming blog post tentatively titled “How Picky Should You Be When Recruiting New Team Members?” A holiday site inspired me to create a editorial calendar to take advantage of important seasonal events in my niche.

Try this exercise and let me know what you come up with.

One thought on “Explore Other Niches to Spur Creative Thinking

  1. This is a tried and true technique. How often is it that we are doing something totally unrelated to our niche when a great idea pops into our heads, I haven’t used this technique for blog posts before but I am going to give it a show in the next few weeks and see if I come up with something creative.

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