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Innovation is billed as the panacea to the downturn, but how can we innovate when gripped with the panic this market has generated? Here are some tips. POLLYANNA LENKIC

Pollyanna Lenkic

By Pollyanna Lenkic

“People who lean on logic and philosophy and rational exposition end by starving the mind.” William Butler Yeats

A lot of the business owners I speak to want to hear some good news, they want to create opportunity in the current climate, and some have expressed that they are not sure how.

How can we be innovative when we are fearful?

Today I wanted to share some ideas about how to do this.

I read somewhere that fear and excitement produce the same physical effect in your body? So I figure we may as well have fun and be excited by our world as it’s all the same anyway!

People thrive with creativity; when people are thriving then often it follows that businesses thrive. Who is the business if not its people?

Gather your people around you, your colleagues, partners and friends. There’s nothing in the entrepreneurial handbook that says “thou shalt soldier on alone and miserable”. Ask the following questions, ask everyone:

  • What can we do differently?
  • What would you do if this were your business?
  • What have we got that is unique?
  • What do we need right now?
  • How can I motivate you to contribute to the success of our business?
  • What questions do I need to be asking right now?

Continue to find ways to enjoy your day, I dare you! Have fun, play and see what happens.

Do a course that is not directly related to your business, but will add some fun to what you do. I recently attended a course on graphic facilitation just for fun, and have been completely energised just by using the techniques when I flip chart information for my clients. I have added more fun to what I am doing.

Go to the magazine rack of your nearest newsagent and buy five magazines that you would never consider buying, read through them and then look for connections to your business. Is there an idea that you can use/develop?

Listen to the great symphonies (Beethoven’s 9th, Mozart’s number 35 are some) and allow your mind to drift and get carried by the music. What fascinates you? How can you link this to ideas and creativity in your business?

Play at inventing; the best inventors are playful. What can you invent that would transform the way you work and profit from your business? See to help you understand the connection between play and invention.

Create a SmartCompany “top story” featuring you and your business. Create the headline, the story. Tell the world how you grew your business by $_________ (fill in the blank) during the recession. Get specific, brag, what did you do? Write it all down.

Have an ideas party in your office, invite all ideas – sensible, the weird and wonderful to the absolutely ridiculous. Honour the most ridiculous with a prize. Write them all down, and then connect them. What happens when you start putting the ideas/words together? What happens when you put these ideas together with your current strategy/business plan?

For added fun ask everyone to come as their favourite TV star, cartoon, movie or historical figure. What would Bart Simpson put in your business plan? Not only will you come up with some great ideas, you will also have the opportunity to lift morale and motivate your team.

Ask a five year old what they would do?

Read some biographies of successful and talented entrepreneurs. One of my favourites is Maverick by Ricardo Semler, one of Latin America’s most successful entrepreneurs and indeed one of the world’s most successful.

We are the designers of our own realities; go and create the design for yours.

(Ideas two to four were adapted from Daniel Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind.)


Pollyanna Lenkic is the founder of Perspectives Coaching, an Australian based coaching and training company. She is an experienced facilitator, certified coach and a certified practitioner of NLP. In 1990 she co-founded a specialist IT recruitment consultancy in London, which grew to employ 18 people and turnover £11 million ($27 million). This blog is about the mistakes she made and the lessons she learned building a business the first time round and how to do it better second time round. For more information go to

For more Second Time Around, click here.



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