Ideation from emotion: an unrequested case-study

"I think we've been doing this for years, but now it's seen as more VIP, more elitist, and people prefer that" - stated a Spanish psychotherapist on the radio.

It was early in the morning. My husband turns the Spanish news on as soon as he wakes up, and by the time I was up they were talking about coaching. Because these days everybody is either a coach, or has a coach, or both.

One of the interviewees was this therapist, and she clearly believed that she was losing clients to coaching because of a status issue.

My husband, toothpaste foaming in his mouth, turned to me, still in bed and said : "She'ong". Which in for people who talk without a toothbrush in their mouth means "she is wrong".


(not my husband, for illustration purposes only. Mine reflects on mirrors and doesn't have fangs. Also, curly hair.)


Last week I started telling you about using emotion as a prompt for creative innovation.

But here's the thing: you need to use your audience's feelings, not your own.

The therapist was afraid, jealous, confused. Not that that's bad. I am all of those things, often, it happens (flash news: we are human). She was professional as she spoke, and didn't sound petty. But she mirrored these feelings in her analysis. She saw coaches getting a new status ahead of hers, and assumed clients wanted in because of a feeling of fanciness.


It's not that her leads went to a coach because they wanted to feel "celebrity-like". It's that they had a stigma attached to working with a therapist, and that stigma was non-existent when it came to coaches - and yes, yes, a coach and a therapist are NOT the same. But she was talking about some overlapping form of support.

If she was to innovate from emotions, she could see how to offer a service in a way that reduced social anxiety, or shame. Like doing private skype sessions; or going to their homes; celebrating group sessions in unexpected, like spas or bookstores; or defining "positive  problems" to work on ("I want to be more self-assertive", instead of "I have sucky self-esteem"). Or a thousand other things.

Once we take an emotional trigger as a creative prompt, we can find several actionable routes.

Want to try this? You can still hop on the workshop (doors close soon!), or send me an email to share your impression with me.

tiny innovationMaria Gil