I have been reading ‘creative confidence’ by the IDEO brothers David and Tom Kelly and in the first chapter itself they give an example of how they nurture creativity. For eg. they give some simple briefs like this to their class participants: ‘Redesign the experience of having your morning coffee‘ and they point out that those who immediately start generating and defending an idea are not that comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty and may not come up with best solutions, while those who take time to let go of their first obvious impulses may perform better creatively.
So I took this exercise upon myself and after ruling out the obvious things that came to mind (like using a coffee scented air purifier along with coffee to have a rich aroma in the room) I took artistic liberty and extended the problem definition to apply not to an individual sitting in his/ her room, but to how say a barista can improve the experience of its morning coffee consumers. And I tried to apply the human centered approach based on empathizing with the end users and their needs (that Tom and David advocate) to try to come up with some ideas.
In my view, there are two types of consumers of coffee in baristas…..those (say introverts) who prefer working on their laptops/ novel/ reading stuff etc alone while enjoying their coffee; and two those (say extroverts) who come up with their friends/ partners etc to have a good, stimulating conversation over the equally stimulating coffee. Now, by creating the same coffee experience for both types of consumers you may end up delighting neither.
So here was my solution: For those who prefer conversations, to attract and lure them, have a dedicated meetup/ conversation corner in the cafe and offer discounts if you buy coffee in pairs or in a group over ordering a single coffee. This encourages more people to have rich stimulating conversation coffee along with a friend or two and helps the cafe too by encouraging more orders for the paired or group coffee based on discounts.
What about the introverts or the ‘stags’ in this ‘couple entry’ cafe:-) Do they end up as losers by paying a higher cost than if they had bought in pair (or group). You may think so, but my idea was to provide a value added service to them by utilizing the differential price they are paying over others. One such service could be giving them a pamphlet/ short newspaper along with their coffee which contains positive stories/ quotes/ crosswords priming positive thoughts etc which they can savor while savoring their coffee alone. Primed with such positivity on a morning , say on a Monday morning, may help them a lot in their day ahead. Also they will be getting a section of the cafe that is quiet and free form all the boisterous noise that the extroverts create while chatting fervently with their colleagues. So in my view, its a win-win for all involved.
The above may seem childish and impractical to many of you; so why do I share this? Because to build your creative confidence does entail returning to that childish state where you are not afraid of censure.
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead, do think about redefining your morning coffee experience, and post it in the comments below!