November  2012     Edition 86
Twinkies and Creativity

Over the past few weeks

, there's been a lot of news about the imminent demise of Twinkies as Hostess petitioned for liquidation. At one point Twinkies headlines eclipsed those of the Fiscal Cliff and the Israeli-Gaza conflict. If they are not purchased by another inspiring snack food provider, Twinkies will forever be a memory of the past.

Twinkies have been around

for the entire lives of most of the people on the planet. Although many of us have had Twinkies in our past, most of us don't eat Twinkies on a regular basis, if at all anymore. (I wish I had a Twinkie right now though!). We have memories of Twinkies, good ones. I don't know a single sole that has a bad memory associated with a Twinkie. Twinkies reminds us of the "good old days".

When we think about solving problems

, we often look back at the "good old days" and try to reuse solutions that worked in the past. This is a good strategy ... if augmented by one element. While you're looking back at the "good old days", also look forward and ponder how you can make "good new days".


... What were the elements, components and circumstances of a past solution that made that solution successful? What circumstances back then still exist today? Can you reproduce those kinds of elements and components for a new solution?

One example where this thinking is applied

is when creating new and/or improved products and services.
We look back at what made great products great, what was the thinking, the strategy?
Why did those products resonate with the buyers?
How did those products persist for so many years?
Why did those products eventually diminish in importance and demand?
What replaced those products and why?
Was it ease of use? Did it replace a tedious process with a simple process?
Did it introduce a new fun factor?
Did it save money or time or reduce stress?
What problem did the old solution solve and how does that relate to the problem the new product and/or service if trying to solve?

Looking back at what made a product or service great helps us to understand what might make the next product and service great.

The Takeaway:
We have fond memories of great solutions from the past. Analyze why these solutions worked and the circumstances that existed at that time. Pick out some of the elements of former successes that may still apply to the new circumstances of your current challenge, and throw out those elements that are not applicable. Make more "good new times" with some of the best of the "good old times". Have a good Twinkie conversation.

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