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Think Outside your Retail Box


Think Outside your Retail Box

People are naturally creative beings, and, like every other skill, some have more natural talent than others. However, everyone can increase their creativity with training and practice and with the world retail being one of the most visual and expressive sectors, it’s important to maximise this skill. Here are some exercises to help you see things from a fresher and ultimately, more creative, perspective.


This is not a fancy-dress exercise, but rather away of scrutinising your new ideas. Invented by psychologist Edward de Bono, the “Six Thinking Hats” is the idea is that each person in your team puts on a different ‘hat’ and defends a certain point of view. If you are wearing the “Devil’s Advocate” hat, you have to chip in with lots of ‘What if’ and ‘Have you thought about…’.

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Often a challenge is not written as a question, but as a statement or an objective. Changing it to a question and mixing up the content can help you to come up with a solution from a completely different place.

How it works:

Write down your initial problem as a statement e.g. The local residents are not meeting recycling targets

Start with a range of opening statements that open up or allow for different response e.g. How to / Is it possible that / In what ways could?

Change the owner of the problem around such as the gender, the demographic or the age, to give you different perspectives e.g. How can the council communications team / rubbish collectors / residents help to meet the targets?

Mix up the action verb. e.g. In what ways might local councils reward / encourage / penalise / persuade?

Change the point of view of the target or desired outcome e.g. What might local councils provide to make it easier for local residents? Can the rubbish collection team make it a sociable event for the local community? What can the communications team say to make encourage the neighbours?


Why not try a slight twist on the standard brainstorming? Brainwriting allows participants to put their ideas on paper rather than yelling them out. It’s a good exercise if you have quiet or new people as it takes off the pressure to speak in front of a group and it allows everyone to express their more out-there ideas.

How it works:

  • Set the question or problem to the group
  • Give everyone a piece of paper with a grid 3 boxes horizontally and the same number of vertical boxes as there are people
  • Give everyone 2 to 3 minutes to write down 3 ideas across the top 3 boxes
  • The paper is then folded and passed onto the next person  
  • The next person then builds on the existing 3 ideas in the row of boxes underneath
  • The session continues until everyone has contributed 3 ideas on each piece of paper
  • Once completed, collect the pieces of paper and start discussing the new ideas as a group

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This article came from Kendu’s Kmag. If you want to find more creative inspiration and mind-expanding ideas, why not subscribe? The quarterly publication will keep you up to date with all the latest innovations and key themes in the retail world.  Download your copy today:



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