Creativity is often viewed as a gift. You’ve either got the magic or you don’t.
Some people naturally seem more predisposed to creativity. However at FORWARD we believe that everyone has potential. By introducing some simple habits we can all bring more creativity into our lives and workspace.
Creativity isn’t just about coming up with big ideas sometimes it’s the small ideas. It isn’t all about visual images and witty copy writing. Creativity is connecting dots, identifying purposeful solutions, original thinking, and ultimately turning your imagination into a reality.
As communications professionals being creative is our livelihood. It’s an important part of what we do. The ability to harness our creativity and direct it appropriately is what helps us achieve better outcomes and get results for our clients.
Knowing how to tap into your creativity is something that you can learn and develop. Just as you can learn techniques to improve your organisational skills, you can apply knowledge and practice to boost your creativity.
If you are looking for ways to be more creative in the workplace give some thought to how you can live a more creative life.
Changing your routine outside of work is equally as important as reconsidering how you approach things professionally.
Embracing your creativity isn’t as simple as flicking a switch. It’s an embodiment, a way of living.
Here are 6 practical tips to kick-start your creative journey.
1. Play with your imagination
The purpose of this exercise is to warm up your brain before you need to think creatively.
There are lots of techniques you can use to relax your mind. Here is one we do at FORWARD before we start brainstorming.
Based on Tim Brown’s TED talk Creativity and Play where he cites Bob McKim’s ‘30 Circles Test’. Give it a go it’s a fun place to start.
- Create a template, like the above with 30 circles on a piece of A3 paper
- The challenge is to fill in as many circles as possible with different pictures/doodles/ideas
- And all within one minute
- Try to explore
- Try not to self-edit
- Try to be forgiving
- Try not to be self critical
Tip: Limber up your mind and prepare it for action
2. Get into character
Put yourself in someone else’s shoes (and by someone we mean your audience).
Whenever we are tackling particularly difficult briefs and preparing for a brainstorm we always like to introduce a bit of role-play.
Each of us will get into character and it’s just as it sounds. Bring a prop, take on a new persona and even change your environment.
How do we want to make the end-user feel?
We take ourselves on that physical journey, and it is all fodder for our imaginations.
Getting into character can be an effective way to develop new ideas and solutions.
Tip: Think about your problem from a different perspective
3. Lose your fear of being wrong
It can be challenging to admit that you don’t have the answers to everything.
However, we can learn a lot about how a creative approaches life. For one they often don’t allow themselves to be restricted by the status quo.
Of course it’s important to protect your ‘personal brand’ and provide your colleagues with insightful, thoughtful thinking and learnings.
However, if you are constantly afraid of failure and not willing to share your ideas, it can be hard to free your mind and allow it to go into a lucid state where creativity often hatches.
Tip: Don’t be so serious. When you say something a bit silly enjoy it – fun and silliness is integral to the creative process
4. Alone time
To quote Picasso: “Without great solitude no serious work is possible.”
It’s crucial that you allocate time to spend time with yourself. So you can hear your thoughts and tune into your inner voice.
Alone time is often where the ideas form. Shut out the noise and dedicate time to recharge and reboot.
Quietness is where we get to know ourselves and can tap into our creativity.
Whether it’s going for a walk, heading to the gym or finding a space in your house, think about a place you can go physically and then mentally to unwind, reflect and create.
Tip: Overcome any concerns you may have of being alone, it’s the key to unlocking your creative potential
5. Do things that feed your soul
You’ve probably heard it time and time again, do what you love and do it often.
Write a list of the top 2-3 things which most inspire you. Do you enjoy watching vintage movies or listening to live music?
Now ask yourself how many times you have dedicated time to doing any of those things in the past week or month. Not as many times as you’d have hoped, right?
To unlock your creativity you need to be connected with yourself and open to new thinking and ideas. So its important to keep inspired and also push yourself out of your comfort zone.
Prioritise doing the things that make you happy and also try to do something new, every week if you can. It can be as easy as choosing a new restaurant or trying to cook a new recipe at home. Variety is all fuel for our minds.
Tip: Make time to renew your sources of inspiration
6. Capture your ideas whenever they happen
Creative thinking can take place anywhere and often when you least expect it. Many people have their best ideas when they first wake up in the morning so be sure to jot them down.
Once you get into a good habit of acknowledging your thinking you’ll find yourself coming up with more and more solutions and different ways to do things.
If you align more with the old school, treat yourself to a special notebook (personal favourite is Moleskin) and keep it close to you at all times. Or download an app like Evernote onto your mobile and work devices, we love using it here at FORWARD. You can also record your ideas on audio notes on your phone.
Tip: Document your thinking but choose a method which suits your personality and lifestyle
Introducing creativity into your life, or trying to be more creative doesn’t need to be onerous. Your personal and work personas are linked, so focus on boosting your creativity in both worlds. However to really harness your creativity it often means going a bit deeper, which can be scary. So remember fortune rewards the brave.