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10 Innovation Ideas When You Are on a Deadline

by Gwyneth Dwyer  |  
August 28, 2007

Stuck? Feeling pressure to perform? Time fleeting? Deadline looming?

Perhaps you're responsible for three fabulous concepts that will drive the marketing of a new retail product line. Or you're charged with redesigning the controversial homepage of an e-commerce Web site. Or you need to present several great options for a new business name—with an accompanying tagline. Or everyone's looking to you to develop that emotionally appealing campaign theme that will boost a sagging fundraising effort.

Every one of those tasks demands innovation and its sidekick: inspiration.

"You can't sit around and wait for inspiration," said Jack London. "You have to go after it with a club."

Pick up your club (your pencil, your laptop, your sketchbook) and let's go. Whatever your particular challenge, these 10 strategies can help you innovate—on a deadline.

1. Zero in

What, exactly, is the task before you? State it clearly—in one sentence, if possible. This may take time, but it's worth it. "A problem well-stated is half-solved," said American pragmatist John Dewey.

2. Take off

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Gwyneth Dwyer is director of writing services at Larsen (, an interactive, branding, and design firm with offices in Minneapolis and San Francisco. She blogs at MarketingProfs Daily Fix ( Reach her at

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