People often ask, “How do you keep coming up with fresh ideas?” Our creative process is a big help, so we thought it would be a good idea to share some aspects of it with you. There is a myth that says some people are more creative than others. Not true. We all have the ability to think creatively and solve problems and get better at it. We hope these thoughts help you come up with some fresh ideas in 2018.
Ask lots of questions about the problem you are trying to solve. What if? How? Why? When? Who? This will help gain clarity about the problem or the goal you are trying to get to. Answers can come from gaining a deeper understanding, taking different perspectives or looking in unrelated areas.
Continual cultivation of creativity is vital for anyone involved in a job that requires you to solve problems in clever ways. Engage in a broad range of good quality sources to feed your mind. Don’t expect to be a creative powerhouse by doing nothing for weeks on end to feed your mind and then cram your head with a bit of Googling before you need to solve a problem. Keep an enquiring mind and be open to new ideas.
At this stage, there is no such thing as a bad idea. Try to come up with as many ideas as possible. Explore what could be. Look for new connections with previously unconnected ideas. Create a story where the problem is the villain and the hero is the solution. Think about the problem as though it were a game and ask ‘What are the rules and what does winning look like?”. Make the problem a metaphor and look for new ways of seeing the problem through this lens.
Put pen to paper and make sure you write down your ideas. Often ideas come as you physically write them down. Use different tools to write down your ideas, such as brushes, pens or paper cutouts. Even making a note of your bad ideas can help clear the way for good ideas.
Quantity rather than quality is the aim here. It might seem tough to come up with loads of ideas but once you get started you will be surprised at how many ideas start rolling out.
Start editing and rejecting ideas that don’t solve the problem as well as other ideas. Edit the mediocre and keep the best. This is where you can criticise and critique. The goal of this stage is to make a good idea into a brilliant idea. You won’t have time to develop every idea you come up with so it is better to focus one idea and make it brilliant rather than spread yourself too thinly and end up with average. Often the best ideas are very simple and seem insignificant to start with, but as you take a good idea and refining it, it will begin to shine. Small ideas, well executed, grow arms and legs and become big ideas.
Once you have refined your idea it’s time to deliver. All the best ideas in the world are no good unless you complete them and turn your them into reality. Bringing a great idea to life is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. Creating a plan to deliver and make sure you meet deadlines is vital. Beware of ultra-perfectionism that never delivers because the idea isn’t good enough and procrastination that keeps putting things off until the last minute.
The great thing about creativity is that it is a never-ending supply as long as you keep working at it. The adage ‘Use it or lose it’ is so true when it comes to creative thinking. If you never execute and deliver on your ideas then you are in danger of becoming stagnant or blocked in your thinking. There is a myth that creative ideas just magically fall out of the sky on those lucky enough to catch them. The reality is the harder you work at generating and executing ideas the more ideas will come to you.