Want to get creative?

Creativity Want to get your creative juices flowing?  Try one of these tactics:

View the problem/product/desired result from a different seat on the bus:  In other words, how would a 6-year-old child view it? A librarian? Truck driver? College student? Someone who uses a wheelchair for support? By putting yourself in many different people’s shoes, you can begin to see the situation differently.

Do a 180: How would the product talk about itself? Or describe how it works? It sounds crazy, but again, sparking creativity is all about thinking differently. What would the competitive product tease your product about? Who knows what you will uncover?

Personify it: If your product or service was a person, who would it be? A man? A young girl? How would they behave? What would their personality be like? What would be their favorite book? Movie? What are they afraid of?

Get out: Most people brainstorm and try to spark their creativity in the same work environment that they are in every day. One of the best ways to inspire some new thinking is to be in a new place. Go to a park and take a walk. Go play at a toy store. Visit a museum. Play a kind of music you would normally never listen to. Stimulate your senses.

Ask why: Make an assumption about what you are working on. Then ask why. And answer it. Then ask why. And answer that. Then ask why. And so on. See where it takes you. Then, when you cannot go any further, make another assumption and do it all over again.

Play: Have a paper airplane contest. Create a putt-putt course in the office. Play charades. Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to be creative, and being playful is a great way to bring that part of you to the surface.

Okay….your turn.  How do you get creative?

14 comments on “Want to get creative?

  1. Scot says:

    If I can get behind the windshield of anything and drive, I get flooded with great ideas. Weird.

  2. For me, it’s music.

    If I can have a rhythm and a sweet melody playing in the background, I tend to “get out of my head” quicker and see things from a variety of perspectives. I can’t put my finger on any particular genre, but it seems like classic rock plays the biggest part… a close second would be classical, for more cerebral travels…

    Thanks for keeping it creative, Drew.

    Keep Cooking!

  3. Shama Hyder says:

    Driving! A good drive always gets me thinking more creatively. = )

  4. Arlin Pauler says:

    As a pragmatist my thing is applied creativity. However, to apply it I first have to have it. These are some really fun and creative – applicable – methods for shifting gears to a creative state of mind.
    I’ll definitely file this one for future use by my clients and myself.
    Once again, thank you Drew for your generosity.

  5. Eamon says:

    Write a nonsense poem about the product: ‘”Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun The frumious Bandersnatch!” (well – sort of – that kind of thing).

  6. Scott,

    Actually, not weird at all. One of the biggest “foes” of creativity is being forced to produce ideas. When we drive or are in the shower…or doing something other task that requires some attention but a part of our mind can also wander….we create some amazing things.

    That’s why it’s good to get out of the office, browse a book store, play at a toy store etc. It is like cleansing our palette and letting our mind roam around our subconscious a bit.


  7. Andrew,

    Yes, I think music does the same thing that Scott described when he drives. It captures enough of our conscious brain that our subconscious can get loose of the constraints.

    I also like to use nature CDS (waterfalls, rain, ocean waves) to let my creativity come out and play.


  8. Shama,

    So, have you ever had a sticky wicket of a problem and consciously got into the car and just hit the road?


  9. Arlin,

    I think that’s one of the most challenging aspects of my job. Creativity on demand. I can’t wait for the muses to strike me. I have a deadline.

    That’s why I like to have a few of these tricks up my sleeve.

    Glad you found them of value.


  10. Eamon,

    Sometimes you have to start out silly or in a place you’d never think would yield a usable idea. As you know…those ideas pop up from all kinds of strange places!


  11. Sherry says:

    This has a lot of good ideas. One thing bothered me as I read through it. I work with people with disabilities and language is important in our world. When referring to people with a disability that requires the support of a wheelchair, I would suggest that you use language to the effect of “a person who uses a wheelchair for support” rather than wheelchair bound. How you talk about disabilities changes how people see them.

  12. Sherry,

    A good catch. Thank you for mentioning it. I’ve gone ahead and changed it!


  13. Pramod says:

    Hi Drew
    I use various methods for creativity. But what I have usually noticed is that a deeper product knowledge helps in being effective creatively. Otherwise we end up talking a language that is not used by the user of the product. Knowledge also makes sure that we are not creative for the sake of it.

    Apart from this, I also put the idea that is generated into a cold storage ( an hour, a day depending on the time available) and revisit the same later. If the idea sounds equally thrilling as it did before, I usually have a winner.

  14. Pramod,

    How do you balance deep knowledge with insider’s disease? How do you keep your perspective in line with the consumer’s POV?

    I too, like the cold storage method. It allows the infatuation with the idea to wear away.


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