Broadcaster Terry O’Reilly told a great story about David Phillips in California.
“He noticed Healthy Choice chocolate pudding was having a promotion. For every 10 barcodes sent in, the buyer would get 500 Air Miles. On top of that, there was an early-bird offer – anyone redeeming barcodes in the first month got double the Air Miles. Therefore, every 10 barcodes got him 1,000 Air Miles.
Phillips scoured his town and discovered a discount grocery chain selling Healthy Choice chocolate pudding for only 25 cents each. Meaning – for $2.50, he would get 1,000 Air Miles. So he crossed town and bought up all the chocolate pudding he could find.
Then came the tough part – peeling the barcodes off hundreds of pudding cups.
He and his family started developing blisters – until Phillips had another idea.
He approached the Salvation Army and asked for volunteers to peel the barcodes. In return, he would donate all the chocolate pudding to them. The Sally Ann said sure. That little move also got Phillips an $800 charitable tax deduction.
In the end, Phillips spent $3,000 on the pudding. But get a load of this: In return, he got 1.2 million Air Miles. That gave the Phillips family lifetime access to the American Airlines Advantage Gold Club, and he’s now earning miles five times faster than he can spend them even though he’s travelling extensively.
He’ll never have to pay for another flight again in his life. And all for spending $3,000 to gain Air Miles.”
When it comes to creative thinking – the proof is in the pudding.
How can you promote creative thinking?
- Welcome innovative out-of-the box thinking. This will signal to everyone how much you value creative thinking, and should go a long way toward promoting innovation in the workplace. Would you have bought $3,000 worth of pudding?
- Remember that if everyone is thinking alike, that means no-body’s thinking! Encourage curiosity or questions!
- Reward failure. One organization gave $20 at their weekly staff meeting to the employee who the biggest failure trying a new idea. In a lot of organizations if someone tries something risky or creative and fails,they will be reminded of their failure over and over.
- Disallow evaluation during brainstorming.Disallowing criticism and critique of ideas during brainstorming promotes the freedom to say the most outrageous things. But that is the environment in which you care most likely to strike gold.
- Hire people different from you. The temptation is always to surround yourself with “yes” people that think just like you. But the greatest leaders are not afraid to hire people that will challenge them.