Looking for creative ideas? Think like Donald Trump

If you’re looking for creative ideas, it’s certainly useful to look at your challenge from a different angle. One way to do this is by thinking about your challenge from the perspective of someone else. 

Distancing yourself from your challenge and looking at it from a different angle has proven to result in more creative solutions. Perhaps you already have a (business) mentor to help you out with a fresh pair of eyes. Having a wise mentor is great, but what if I told you that you could have anybody in the world as your personal advisor? That would be pretty cool huh?!

And why limit yourself to one single mentor. If you want, you can create your own personal ‘board of advisors’, with all your favourite celebrities. Imagine a room with Barack Obama, Justin Bieber, Jerry Seinfeld, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Richard Branson, Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Taylor Swift. All talking about ways to solve your biggest challenges. I bet that image alone would get you thinking.

How would…?

Create a long list of celebrities and exciting people (or fictional characters) that you’re familiar with. Think of a list as diverse as; the pope, Donald Trump, Harry Potter, Vladimir Putin, Mark Zuckerberg, Mr Bean, John Lennon, George Clooney and James Bond. If you want, you can add images to your list to make it even more vivid.

Make sure that your list contains interesting individuals. People that you find inspiring. Obviously, this can be for all sorts of reasons. It can be because they have an outspoken attitude, because they are extremely clever or creative, or because they’ve achieved something amazing. If your grandmother with her old sayings is an inspirational woman, you should put her on your list too.

Your list doesn’t only have to contain heroes and saints. Outliers and villains are often extremely inspiring too. Their evil minds can help to spark your thinking. So don’t hesitate to also put a few bad guys on your list.

If your list is complete, it’s time to select a name from it. You can pick one you like, or you can select one randomly (for instance by numbering the names and using dice to select one).

Now take a good look at the individual you’ve selected and you ask yourself: “How would this person look at my challenge?”

That’s it. No complicated steps. Just one simple question. Simply imagine how he or she would look at your challenge. What solutions would this person come up with? How would he act? What would she focus on? What would he think and do? What knowledge and experience would she apply to find a solution?

You can try to be your ‘celebrity’ and imagine what he or she would think. Or, if you find it more comfortable, you can imagine sitting next to your celebrity asking him or her for advice. What would this person tell you to do? What advice would you get?

How to best apply this technique depends on your own preferences. It doesn’t really matter how you use this technique. As long as it inspires you and helps you to find many creative ideas. When you notice that you run out of ideas, simply pick a new name and start all over again. Continue this process until you are satisfied with the number of ideas. Make sure the number is not too small, though.

This technique is really straightforward and easy to apply. It’s is fun to use and can be used with all group sizes. If you discuss a challenge from the perspective of a celebrity it will almost always lead to interesting insights and creative ideas.


Ready for even more creative ideas?

Thinking like a famous person is only one way of generating more creative ideas. If you’d like to explore even more creative thinking techniques, these articles might interest you:


Photo: Flickr © Gage Skidmore

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The random combinationCreative thinking; everybody is creative