The power of possibilities – why we shouldn’t underestimate the value of problem solving…

It’s a misconception that to excel in the business of marketing, you need to be a prolific generator of new ideas. Those new Ideas, the ones that seem to change the way we live overnight, are rare because they are extremely difficult to come by.  The proverbial hen’s teeth if you like. Living in a post modernistic world where everything new feels like it’s already been done before, (and it probably has, twice),  it’s not the new idea we should be focusing on, rather, we need to be solving existing problems in new and creative ways.

Often opportunity sits right under our noses.

It’s the obvious rather than the elusive that we should be focusing our efforts on. Every business or product has a degree of latent potential or undiscovered opportunity. Those opportunities are usually at the end of what may currently be seen as a problem. In effect, it is the problem that you should be looking for, because that is the actual starting point for your next innovation.

Some of the most impressive innovations come from looking at problems with new eyes. We all know that if you lose something valuable, stop looking for it and it will turn up. This is often how problems are solved, with the solutions, when found, appearing as though they were staring you in the face the whole time….

Companies that need to maintain a competitive edge in what is becoming a more and more competitive and sophisticated market, need to invest wisely in the areas of problem solving.

The best way to do that is by outsourcing or using people that are slightly removed from the day to day business as often those closest to the problem, cannot see the woods for the trees. Outsourcing is a logical and proven step towards developing innovation and big companies have known this for years.

Proctor and Gamble, one of the largest multinational consumer goods companies in America, solved a seemingly unsolvable packaging problem, not by brainstorming within their own ranks, but by looking outside of their organisation to a completely unrelated industry. P&G briefed an open innovation service provider who in turn briefed a number of unlikely candidates. The solution ultimately came from a British agricultural company, proving the theory that by outsourcing to a totally unrelated group of people, problems are not always insurmountable.

Marketing is one of those areas that often is taken ‘in-house’ but potentially leads to a lack of innovation, tired and stale advertising and often doesn’t see problems until they are at a crucial stage. Using professional marketing agencies that are external to a business, gives a competitive advantage as using a team of people with new eyes, provides for the ideal ‘braintank’ for turning problems into innovative creative solutions.