Creativity is a joy. And sometimes it’s worse than pulling teeth. In our business, where at some level creativity is always connected to a timeline, we can’t afford to leave creative thinking to chance, so each of us has developed a few strategies for helping to blast through creative blocks. We’re often asked how we come up with new ideas, and what we do when the well runs dry, so we thought we’d share our techniques—and also invite you to share your own!
Enjoy the drive.
Drive time is a big favorite. Whether humming along to the radio, reflecting on designs that pass our lines of sight, or reviewing ideas in that blessed solitude between destinations, the meditative quality of driving is the go-to zone for many of us.
Take advantage of your “off” times.
While we hear a lot about scheduling our serious thinking for the time of day when we’re most clear headed and productive, many of us find that our best “Ah-ha” moments come during our “off-schedule” musings (so our night owls might get their breakthrough in their morning shower). The secret to using this strategy seems to be filling your active mind with the data, and then letting the subconscious work its magic.
Pump up the volume.
Yes, that’s right. Though sportsters we’re not, a top-scoring creativity spark around here comes from physical activity—taking a walk, squeezing a ball, playing with the dog, salsa dancing. It seems to effectively double-team our staff: Not only does the activity give us a clear break from our high-intensity work, but the activity boosts blood flow to our brains and re-energizes us from head to toe.
OK, so this one might be cheating a bit, but seriously, the #1 way we keep the pump primed is by both individually and collaboratively focusing on the source of the problem at hand. We’re not aiming for creativity for its own sake; we’re here to deliver an idea with purpose, whether it’s to solve a communication problem, bring a brand to life or create a market opportunity. Imagining the “better way” for tomorrow starts by really understanding where we are today.
OK, so those are our Top 4; how about yours? Please share… some days even we need an extra boost!
And if you still want more, check out this recent post on the The Wall Street Journal’s site offering “Tactics to Spark Creativity.”