I have been watching too much Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives again. Any time I am checking out Guy Fieri and his roving exploration of funky diners on the Food Network though, I am looking for valuable creative process twists to share on the Brainzooming blog.

Today’s extreme creative ideas adapted from Guy Fieri restaurant visits on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives all include a warning:

Caution: All of these extreme creative ideas contain a high-level of organizational, professional, and / or personal risk. Exercise caution as you consider implementing any of these extreme creativity ideas.

This note of caution is warranted because while the risks associated with these extreme creative process twists are not fatal, they could, if pursued, push you into uncharted innovation territory for product design and user experience.

5 Creative Process Twists for Product Design and User Experience

1. Create a new customer experience by making it impossible to pay attention to your product the old way

You frequently see Guy Fieri visit joints with sandwiches and burgers that are so big, so gooey, and so sloppy, a customer has to devote a new level of attention and involvement to consuming one of them. When a sandwich or burger cannot be eaten as an afterthought, eating becomes a brand new customer experience.

Creative Process Twist: How can you take your service or product design over the top to create a new, sensory experience for customers?

2. Do something so specialized only you can fulfill it

One restaurant owner insisted on using a specific type of Caribbean bread in his signature dish. Since no one could be found to make the bread exactly as he wanted, he made all of the Caribbean bread himself. With that level of detailed specialization, it’s difficult for a competitor to replicate what he’s doing.

Creative Process Twist: How can you make a component of what you do so specialized you will either scare off direct competitors or put them through a competitive cost or mistake-filled minefield if they try to copy you?

3. Keep only one identifiable element in your product category and change everything else

When you ask anyone to describe a burger, you’ll hear a familiar list of items that “define” what a burger is. Creative ideas on Triple D often mean a restaurant owner keeps only one item in the definition constant (say, a burger’s bun), while changing everything else. That is how you get a breakfast burger with a full breakfast shoved into a hamburger bun.

Creative Process Twist: How can you take one element of your signature offering and change everything else about it to create a familiar, yet entirely new category?

4. Do something in the hardest way possible

I’m huge on taking the easy way out whenever possible. Okay, maybe not the easy way out, but at least making repetitive tasks continually more efficient. Extreme creativity twists on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, however, suggest that is not always the way to go. As the guys who run the Guerrilla Street Food (truck) in St. Louis, which makes ALL its own noodles, told Guy Fieri, “We like to make it hard on ourselves.”

Creative Process Twist: How can you create extreme value for customers by picking one aspect of your product and making it in a much harder way that delivers exponentially more value?

5. Take your standard product and introduce one distinctive, high-end feature

If your organization focuses on mundane, cheap-to-produce products, you are asking to be boxed into an untenable market position. Instead of targeting the lowest common denominator in product design, take a Triple D approach: Remove one standard element of your product and replace it with a distinctive, high-end feature to set it apart. One Austin, TX diner offers pastrami sandwiches, as any deli does, but instead of beef pastrami, its signature sandwiches are made from duck pastrami.

Creative Process Twist: How can you twist one aspect of your product so that single element makes your product unlike any other in its product category?

What creative process twist would you show Guy Fieri?

If Guy Fieri were visiting your company, what creative ideas would you show him where a unique twist has yielded a dramatically different product design or user experience breakthrough? And if you don't have one to show, what are your thoughts about applying on of these twisted creative ideas to what you do? -  Mike Brown


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