Sir Richard Branson, CEO of the Virgin Group, announced this week that the first Spaceport (an airport for recreational space travel) will be built in New Mexico to support his newest business effort, Virgin Galactic. As he's done in the past with music and air travel, Branson is pioneering new ground. And he's always been fueled by a powerful emotion: the desire to put a thumb in the eye of the complacent incumbents. The need to "stick it to the man".
Great ideas have been fueled by this same visceral desire for centuries. Columbus wanted to prove that the King was wrong. Mark Zuckerberg wanted to show the good-looking jocks at Harvard that he could beat them at getting girls by using his creativity to launch Facebook. Steve Jobs felt that intense fire so much that he made Apple TV commercials that mocked his rival Bill Gates.
So let's put that passion to work for you with a fun exercise to spark creative ideas. The name? You guessed it ... Stick it to the man!
We've all felt kicked around at some point in our lives. Perhaps it was the school bully, or an overbearing boss, or the seemingly unbeatable competition. Here's your chance to get back. In this exercise, it is your job to be irreverent. To pick a fight. To shake things up.
To begin, think about a creative challenge and what you could do to really piss people off. Start with your boss. What ideas would send her into cardiac arrest? Next, move on to your competition. Think of all the things you could do to ruin their day. To pour salt in their wounds. To send them off the deep end.
Now that you are having fun, don't stop there. What would create environmental outrage? What would engender a political explosion? Can you think of anything so obnoxious and racy that a riot may ensue? Don't hold back. Here's the one time where you goal is to be politically incorrect.
This type of thinking forces you way outside your normal thought process, and will help you generate wild creative sparks. Once you have a nice list of offensive ideas, scaling them back to something palatable will be easy. The hard part was accomplished in the midst of your mischievous fun—breaking old thought patterns and letting your creative abilities shine.
So go ahead ... .throw stones, kick sand in their faces, and let your creativity soar to new heights in the process.