Creativity is defined as the ability to produce new ideas or solutions through imagination – to provide a solution that has not existed before. This is certainly no easy feat and everyone has experienced hitting a dead end trying to come up with the next big idea. Although there isn’t a magic pill to make someone an instant creative genius, here are five somewhat unusual ways that help me dream up my next creative breakthrough.
- Be a 5-year old. Start your process by looking at your problem/task through a child’s eye. The inquisitive nature of children is the result of everything being new to them. When you look at things as if you’ve never seen them before, it allows you to see it with a fresh perspective. Don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions –children ask many questions that may sound ridiculous at first, yet many times uncover a reasoning or viewpoint that has never occurred to you.
- Chop carrots. Or shuffle cards or rake leaves. The point is to perform a mindless task that uses little brainpower. This state of consciousness where you’re on autopilot allows your mind to wander without restrictions to make connections between thoughts and patterns that were not possible previously. These are your ‘aha!’ moments.
Be a 5-year old. Start your process by looking at your problem/task through a child’s eye.
- Stand up. Standing allows more dynamic thought and interaction in meetings. People are more energized and contribute at a more creative level than when they sit. Standing also provides health benefits.
- Walk away. Take a short walk and don’t think of your task at hand for a few minutes. It sounds counterproductive, but can actually prove to be much more beneficial than trying to power through it and force an idea or solution. Stepping away from the problem gives your brain a chance to work on the solution in the background. A large chunk of the time spent racking your brain is better spent not thinking about the task at all.
- Talk to a stranger. Make small talk with the person next to you at Starbucks as you’re both waiting for your drinks. Interacting with a stranger stimulates your brain to think rapidly and make connections to feed your conversation, similar to doing improv. Improv pushes you to think quickly, react, and build upon input from another source.
Try out these techniques. You may surprise yourself. Happy ideating!