5 easy ways to fuel your creativity

  • 4 minuted read

Some people think that creativity is a bit of genius that you are born with. They think it takes luck to come up with great ideas. In creativity training sessions, we prove them wrong. We show them they have it in them. Certainly, you can be creative on purpose. How? By applying deliberate methods to produce new ideas and novel results. You have to really use your mind in a conscious way.

For us and all specialists in the creativity training field it is not a question of “are you creative or not” but “in which way are you creative”. And more important, how can you get the most of it? What can you do to fuel your creativity?

A lot of reading, experimenting, creativity training and idea sharing led us to a few ways we swear by. They are:

  • get out of our reading comfort zone
  • look for inspiration in new places
  • change the way you look at tasks
  • exercise more
  • use an idea notepad

 Here is a bit more about each of them:

1. Expand your reading list

Haruki Murakami said that “if you only read the books everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking”. Reading widely will broaden your perspective and introduce you to new topics. It will also give you the opportunity to explore unique connections between various topics and themes. Look for something different at the bookstore, ask people from other areas to recommend books and just get out of your reading comfort zone. It will really benefit your creativity.

2. Unexpected places yield unexpected results

We cannot create in a vacuum. So, when approaching a project, we look for inspiration in the outside world. This is not about stealing ideas, but a way to help us see our project through new eyes and see how we can approach things. It’s difficult to know where to look for inspiration because there is too much information around us. Our suggestion: go for the unexpected places.

For instance, we need inspiration for a new PowerPoint presentation on creativity training. We could go to google search and type “PowerPoint templates”. We would most likely end up with a presentation that looks like everybody else’s. Not so creative, is it? Instead, we typed “art magazine layouts”. To go even further with a theme, we tried key words as “Dada movement”. As a result, our mind just opened to a whole new set of great, out of the box ideas.

3. Rewire your thinking

We cannot be creative if our mind is fixed in a pattern that doesn’t allow us to find solutions. The way to fix this is your own language. Sometimes you find yourself thinking and saying close-ended statements like “I can’t…,” or “I don’t know…,”. These are a clear sign that you’re not really looking for an out.

The answer here is to rewire your brain and use open-ended statements such as:

„What if…?”

„There’s always a way…”

„What are the possible solutions here…?”

„Where to start…?”

„How are others doing this…?”

4. Keep walking

Our advice is simple here: if you’re feeling stuck, just go for a walk. This is based on four experiments conducted by researchers as Stanford University. Whether it’s done outdoors or on a treadmill, walking improves the generation of new yet appropriate ideas. The effect even extends to when people sit down to do their creative work shortly after. It will also improve your overall health and your ability to perform general mental tasks.

5. Carry a notepad

Pick up the habit of carrying around a small notebook and a pen everywhere you go. You can also use your smart phone or other device if it suits you better. Note your ideas as soon as you get them. Once a week review the ideas and see what you can apply. This is a tool as powerful as it is easy to implement. It is one of our colleague’s favourite way to get creativity into action. We snuck and got his notepad to select some examples to see how it works for him:

“Include innovation questions in the assessment tool.”

“New training idea on how to build a meaningful workplace.”

“Project based intervention team – for client Z.”

“Creativity training handout with space for doodling.”

“DesignWorks – check it out more.”

“Guests for Creativity Evenings…”

Finally, there they are, our simple but very result oriented ways to fuel creativity. The most important part is to believe that you are a creative person. But like any other skills or trait, it needs work to perfect it. In our creativity training, we also work with practical instruments and an algorithmic approach that’s easy to follow for novices and veterans alike. Combined with a set of tricks like the one above, you can innovate like a Mad Men creative executive.  

Use them wisely and get those creative juices flowing!

References:

  • Graphic Design – course instructor: Dave Underwood, University of Colorado Boulder
  • The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators – by Clayton M. Christensen and Hal B. Gregersen
  • Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention – by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  • Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition. Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking. – Oppezzo, M & Schwartz, D. 2014 – PDF link
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