Exhaustive lists as a reliable tool for unstucking yourself

When in doubt, or when it's just not good enough, make an exhaustive list.

  • Every complaint someone might have about a particular product
  • Every media outlet that might be interested in your story
  • Every time you've ever been rejected and what it has cost you
  • Every successful product in this category that you've ever used, and why
  • Every person you know who might help you reach the person who can help
  • Every reason your current project might not work
  • Every person you've ever met who would be perfect for this job
  • Every person who deserves a thank you note
  • Every animal that might be part of a name for this product
  • Every reason you can think of to use what you've made
  • Every successful restaurant within three blocks

The challenge of every is that it's exhausting. You have to go to the edges, and that act, the act of going beyond the obvious, is where innovation lies.

[And for a marketing-focused jolt, check out Bernadette Jiwa's new book.]