BY TOM MCCARTHY
Did you know that developing your ability to think
creatively is simply
utilizing the priceless gifts you've been given: a
fertile mind, a colorful
imagination, and an endless array of newspapers and
Creative thinkers tinker with ideas from publications.
They can easily turn
a bookstore, library, or waiting room in a doctor's
office into a think
tank and farm new ideas from print documents. Connecting
different sources can helpyou to develop the thinking
skills needed to
generate creative solutions. Want to give it a try?
Scan your favorite newspaper or magazine and pick out
several articles or
ads that catch your eye. Now read each one and think of
some way you can
connect it with the problem you're currently trying to
solve. Find a
paragraph, sentence, or even just a word that sparks an
yourself to make some type of connection. At first, it
may not make much
sense, but as you start applying the concept to
different problems, you'll
get the hang of it and see the potential.
When Delivery Confirmation was rolled out as a new
service a few years ago,
I had an idea while reading the sports section of a
local newspaper. I came
across a photo of the winner of a local marathon as he
crossed the finish
line. His arms were raised high in a display of victory,
and the smile on
his face stretched from ear to ear, but something else
caught my eye: the
race number bib he wore on the front of his shirt was
green bright green,
Delivery Confirmation green.
That triggered an idea. In the same way that the race
number bib on a runner's
shirt identifies and records each contestant as they
cross the finish line,
the bright green Delivery Confirmation label on a parcel
identifies and confirms
delivery when it crosses its finish line to the
I submitted a promotional idea to our district to
co-sponsor a 5K fun-run-walk
with an established local race promoter in Honolulu.
Participants would be
given a Delivery Confirmation label to affix to the
front of their shirt to
serve as their race numbers.
As each participant crossed the finish line, the DELCON
label would be scanned
and uploaded to the USPS.COM web site where participants
could check their results
and become familiar with our website and DELCON process.
Although it was a unique idea that showed potential, it
never materialized. And
that's one thing you have to accept. Some of your best
ideas may not bear fruit,
but the real value is in using your mind to think in
creative ways and forge ahead
with more new ideas.
McCarthy is National Editor, the Postmasters
Advocate, a monthly national
magazine of the National League ofPostmasters, and
Editor for Aloha, the state
newsletter of the Hawaii LEAGUE branch.
Published by Judy Vorfeld at
in "Communication Expressway."