How do you get the creative juices flowing?

Shutterstock_30251488 There are many ways to spark creativity.  Most of them involve a shift in perspective and a willingness to be playful, even though the work is "serious." Here are some of the ways we go at it for our clients at MMG.

View the problem/product/desired result from a different seat on the bus.

In other words, how would a six-year old child view it?  A librarian?  Truck driver?  College student? Someone who is wheelchair bound? By putting yourself in many different people’s shoes – you can begin to see the situation differently.  A great technique is to literally speak their voice out loud.  Like improv…see where it takes you.
 
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?  What would they be most proud of?
 
Get out.

Most people brainstorm and try to spark their creativity in the same work environment that they’re 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’d normally never listen to.

Stimulate your senses.  I think this is why the shower is such a hot spot of creativity!
 
Ask why.

If you have children, you will remember their "why" stage.  A simple question could take 30 minutes to answer by the time they asked why 12 times.  Adopt that attitude.  Make an assumption about what you’re 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 can’t 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.

How about you?  How do you get the creative juices flowing?

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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8 comments on “How do you get the creative juices flowing?

  1. Jean Baker says:

    Great ideas, Drew! I also find that doing creative things unrelated to the task at hand (e.g., playing the piano, creating a handmade card, etc.) can be very beneficial!

  2. Thanks for the wonderful ideas, Drew! In marketing, we’re expected to always be on top of our game. However, we sometimes forget that being creative can wear on us and we need to come at different things from different angles. Throw convention out the window, look at things from your audience’s perspective, you might be surprised at what you come up with.

    Tessa Carroll
    VBP OutSourcing
    http://www.blogs.vbpoutsourcing.com

  3. Charley says:

    Hi there. All great inspirational techniques. I usually fancy a round of golf or go fishing! That allows me to focus on something completely unrelated, free up my mind – and then seeing things more clearly.

  4. Jean — great suggestion.

    You’re right, if we trigger that part of our brain, even in an unrelated way, it often will help us get back on track with the original project.

    Drew

  5. Tessa,

    And….don’t forget that “playing” can fuel your brain’s creativity. There’s nothing wrong with a quick paper airplane contest or an office chair race.

    That sort of behavior seems to loosen up our synapses and get the creative juices flowing again.

    Drew

  6. Charley,

    A valid point. Sometimes we’re just trying too hard or trying to force the ideas. Far better to recognize when it’s just not flowing and do something different for a bit.

    I often find that when I do that…while I am fishing or playing golf (using your suggestions) my brain is still working on the other challenge and voila, the answer shows up.

    Drew

  7. I like your train of thought here. I think it’s important to focus on something different and step outside your ideas, brainstorming, or task at times and clear your thoughts. I tend to do some exercises to release the creative juices, maybe jog a lap around the office. I like your idea of a paper airplane contest because this will get people distracted, but they are using their brain to build the best paper airplane possible.

  8. It is a wonderful article, I like it, Thank you very much!

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