When was the last time someone asked you this question: “I’m not sure what I would do. What would you do?” It can be difficult to be put on the spot, but thinking about solutions instead of problems is a technique everyone should practice.
Here are a few ways to think differently about solving problems through the identification of needs and goals, while keeping impact at the forefront of your mind.
Tip 1: “Find a need and offer a solution that meets that need”
Recently I asked Noah—an artist and entrepreneur responsible for Noah University, Noah Fine Art, and The Kid In Me—to share with a class about understanding your why and the importance of doing work that matters to you.
Of the many nuggets of wisdom he shared, one stood out among the rest: “Find a need and offer a solution that meets that need.”
With creative work, it can be easy to focus on everything that goes into the work without ever thinking about needs and solutions. How do you take mediums like video production or web design and ask, “What need does this meet?” How do you ascribe value to art in general? The answer to these questions don’t need to be profound, you just need answers that resonate with you.
For me, video production is a solution to the need of telling a captivating story in a way no other medium can for the purpose of entertainment, enlightenment, or engagement. It could be a motivational video meant to inspire someone to take more risks with their life. It could be a promotional video with the purpose of communicating the vision of a non-profit organization so they can raise money to fund their efforts.
Tip 2: Add value to your work by identifying and accomplishing goals
The best creative work is created for two purposes: first, to meet the needs of the artist; and second, to achieve the goals of the client. Your work is more valuable when you are able to not only satisfy those needs, but be able to communicate them to your client.
How do you identify goals?
As an artist, ask yourself, “What do I want to learn on this project?” A client is paying you to do your best work for them, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn something new on a project. It could be a new technique in Adobe Illustrator or the way you hold your Wacom pen. It could be a new lighting setup or work with a new composer for your film.
With business, goals can be best identified through the understanding of Return on Investment (ROI). Most business relationships should be about answering this question: How will your creativity result in more business for me? Ultimately, you want your work to result in more business for your customers.
Tip 3: Ask “How Can I Make Your Life Better?”
I like asking other business owners how they sell their work to other businesses. The best answer was a question that was asked of every prospect: “How can I make your life better?” From there, that company made a plan that satisfied the answer to that question.
This question is not just for business. This is a question to ask of your friends, your family, and yourself.
Tip 4: Don’t just ignore the naysayers, prove them wrong
“That’s great, but how?”
“There is no way that could ever work.”
Skeptics, cynics, and naysayers are in abundant supply. Don’t just ignore them, prove them wrong by implementing your ideas and solutions.
Build a plan by breaking up your solutions into actionable small steps and then do them.
Without action, an idea is worthless.
Tip 5: Never forget the human connection
It can be easy to forget that all creative work is produced for other human beings.
Finishing a project, adding it to your portfolio, and moving on to the next project is a recipe for forgetting about how people will interact with and be affected by your work.
Take time to see how your work impacts others.
Never forget the human connection.