Legal Business Development: Fuel Your Creativity

by Paula Black

If you're a lawyer you are attracted to solving puzzles... that is what you do. I work with lots of lawyers that don't think of themselves as creative, but of course they are creative. It takes creative thinking to solve puzzles. You look at cases from many perspectives in order to reach the best outcome for your clients. I would certainly define that as a creative process. So, how can you tap into your creativity to a greater degree?

I have been pondering this question. If you read my post... What's Your "Big Theme" For 2013?... You know that my "Big Theme" for 2013 is CREATION. In my research in finding ways to tap into my own creativity I realized this surely applies to lawyers. I read an article in Entrepreneur Magazine by Nadia Goodman... How to Find New Business Ideas in Everyday Life, that offers us all, methods on how to keep the creativity flowing...

"The idea for Disneyland’s Magic Kingdom was born on a family vacation. Walt Disney was visiting Tivoli Gardens, one of Europe’s oldest amusement parks, when he realized he could create a bigger, better version in California. His method is not unusual: Great entrepreneurs find new business ideas by paying attention to opportunities in everyday life. 'The world around you is filled with ideas that can be useful,' says Andy Boynton, co-author of The Idea Hunter (Jossey-Bass, 2011).

None of those ideas will come to you by thinking really hard in a vacuum. You have to get out in the world and practice behaviors that lead you to new ideas. 'Innovation is not about how smart you are; it's about the hunt for ideas,' Boynton says. 'Behavior trumps IQ.'

By learning to think and act in ways that bring new opportunities to light, you can find a constant stream of business ideas in everyday life."

We hear it all the time... "He gets tons of cases and he's not even the brightest lawyer!" Behavior trumps IQ! So, how do you behavior? Here are 3 tips to put into action that will fuel your creativity.

"1. Keep a list of opportunities. 'At any given time, there's a job that has to get done,' Boynton says, meaning the world is full of problems that need to be solved. As you go about daily life, keep a running list of jobs that others have abandoned, ignored, or failed to address effectively. Each is a potential opportunity.

'Start with your own experience,' Boynton says. Ask yourself, what bugs me? What could be easier? More fun? More convenient? Your own frustrations will guide you to real problems that can drive a new business idea."

I believe this is critical, based on the fact that we are always doing two or three things at once. How often do you have a stroke of genius on your drive home from work and after having dinner you ask yourself... "What was the great idea I had in the car?" Use the Dictation Dragon app and when you get home you'll have an email with your brilliant idea waiting for you.

"2. Hunt for ideas in diverse places. New ideas require creativity, which thrives on novelty and diversity. You might find a great idea while you’re on vacation or unexpected inspiration in an experimental art exhibit. 'If you open your eyes, the answer is there,' Boynton says. 'But your world has to be broad enough and diverse enough to feed you the ideas you need.'

Your search needs to be intentional. 'When effective idea hunters talk to people, they’re not just going through a social dance,' Boynton says. They're looking to learn what others know or do -- mining the world around them for useful ideas.'

Diversity is the spice of life! Asking questions and listening... really listening, will surely get the creative juices flowing.

"3. Notice how others solve business problems. In any situation, you are surrounded by problems that someone has tried to solve. Each is an opportunity to learn. Start noticing how convenience stores organize inventory, how packaging catches your eye, or how Amazon encourages impulse buys. You might find a better way to solve the same problem or inspiration for solving a different problem.

'You really can borrow and reuse ideas, and reapply them," Boynton says. 'If you develop a mental habit of [noticing others' solutions], it opens your eyes to what's out there.'

How often do you make time to observe a colleague present his or her case in court, or to reviewed a document for a friend not in the legal business? You may find insights that you could use in your own legal work.

I have a fourth step... Buy Boynton's book, I just did. I'm sure we will find more great thinking. Check out the table of contents. Thank you Nadia Goodman for the introduction to Boynton! I suspect this will be a valuable tool for me to work on my "Big Theme" for 2013... CREATION, could it help you with your "Big Theme" as well?


Written by:

Paula Black

Paula Black & Associates on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.