Fifty - No, FIVE Ways to be More Creative

Creativity isn't just for Creatives - try these ideas to help you shift your perspective and come up with new ideas and solutions. 

 
 Vision-board-for-creativity
 

It's not that hard to list fifty ways to inspire creativity. But fifty of anything is overwhelming, so instead, here are a few favorites that I think not only help us be more creative, but are also fun. And, they work in life as well as business! 

These creativity tips are not just addressing creativity as in creating a piece of art, writing a song, or making beautiful dresses. This is more creative problem solving - coming up with new, on-brand and not-yet-thought-of solutions and ideas.

These tactics can be applied to anything in your life - not just business.

The common denominator with these is that they help shift your perspective, one of the most effective ways to be creative. Here you go:

  1. go away.

  2. Be someone else.

  3. Watch the movie.

  4. Dream

  5. Be quiet.

I truly believe that everyone has the ability to be creative. Sure, some people seem to have that "creativity gene," (is that real?) but anyone can apply these tips and techniques.

But WAIT -  does being creative REALLY matter when it comes to hospitality, marketing, and customer experience?

ABSOLUTELY. Let's get into each of these and I think you will see how and why.

1   |   GO AWAY

Probably the fastest way to get your creativity flowing again is to change your environment. Every wonder why so many people say they are most inspired when they travel?

Because they have changed their environment and they see things they don't see in their everyday lives. 

  • Go for a walk, but maybe turn left instead of right. Look around you - at front yards, at signs, store windows.

  • Go sit in a coffee shop, but without your computer or your phone, and watch and listen.

  • Book a room at a hotel, even if it is in your own city - better if you can get away for a night - and just live it. You will be amazed at the ideas that come to you.

 

Obviously, if you are in a different environment and staring at your screen the entire time, then you haven't changed environments at all - you are in the environment that is on your screen.

Try and put away the phone, but, be sure to have a notebook and a pen (pencil for me)! (Or if you really have to, the voice recorder on your phone.)

Here is an article in Vogue that talks more about why travel inspires creativity. And if you want something even deeper, here is an article in The Atlantic

 

2   |   BE SOMEONE ELSE

Let's say you are trying to figure out the best way to merchandise a store window (or could be a trade show booth, a stage set for a meeting, or even your dining room table).

 notebook and coffee

Or, in a different scenario - maybe you feel like your staff isn't really getting it.  You have what you think is a good training program in place. What is missing?

You  already know the message that you want to communicate, but what's the best, most effective way?

First, brainstorm yourself.

Brainstorm with your team if you have one. 

Then, all of you (or just you) become someone else and brainstorm.  "How would Martha Stewart do this?" Become Martha Stewart and list your (her) ideas.  What would Sir Richard Branson suggest about this? 

It can be a fictional or real person. Channel them. Become them. I promise you will find new ideas. 

And if you work with a larger company, it can be so helpful to get other departments involved. I once worked with a CFO who never wanted to attend the brainstorming sessions with the executive team. He said "I'm a numbers guy - left brain all the way - I'm not creative." Well, he was more or less forced to attend and participate. What we found was, his perspective help tremendously. He was looking at our marketing campaigns from a numbers perspective and helped us see things that we were blind to before he joined the sessions. (He's found his creativity.)

3   |   WATCH THE MOVIE

This is my favorite one. You know when you're watching a movie and there is the nerdy guy with a pizza ringing the doorbell of the beautiful girl's apartment (and the real pizza guy is somewhere we don't want to know).  And you think (or yell), "don't do it - don't open the door!"

Well, if you have a situation where you just can't make a decision or aren't sure to go this way or that, or maybe who to hire, try putting yourself in the movie and watching it. If you saw your character in your situation, what would you be yelling at the TV? 

4   |   DREAM

So, imagine it's five years from now and your business is more successful than anything you are currently imagining. Go big -- BIGGER! What would that look like? You are asked to speak at your industry's biggest event? There is a six-month waiting list to get into you spa/restaurant/hotel? Oprah wants to interview you? The Wall Street Journal does a story on you?

Sit with that -- REALLY imagine it. Imagine Oprah asking you to describe your team. What does your staff look like? Then keep going. What is the guest experience? What product are you ordering? Who are your partners? What city(ies) are you in?

Then, reverse engineer it. Figure out how you got there and focus on those details. Maybe write a five minute speech that you would deliver about your company once you are already at that place. How would you explain what you did to get there? Look at those ideas. 

Do you still have that notebook? Write these thoughts down! 

 
 Creativity-notebook
 

5   |   BE QUIET

My other favorite. If you don't stop and be quiet and listen to your heart and your head, you will never hear the best ideas. Sorry if it sounds a little woo-woo - it really isn't. 

One thing I refused to admit FOREVER was that being quiet is really hard. To not have music playing or anything in the background. Not brainstorming, not painting, not doing a grocery list in my head. Being still and listening. 

Try taking the train without listening to your podcast or working. Turn off the radio in the car, and don't listen to podcasts. Just drive in silence. (this is where you want that voice recorder - you will come up with ideas when you do this.)

 
Five Ways For Creativity.pinterest.png
 

So, the five ideas (and what they really mean in case you scrolled really fast) are: 

  1. GO AWAY  (put yourself in a different environment).

  2. BE SOMEONE ELSE (channel another person and brainstorm from their point of view - this is great when a team runs out of ideas while brainstorming).

  3. WATCH THE MOVIE (pretend you are watching a movie with you as the main character dealing with whatever you are dealing with - what, as the viewer, would you be telling the main character?).

  4. DREAM (imagine outrageous success and then figure out how you got there).

  5. BE QUIET (be still. stare at a leaf. listen to your heart.)

As said at the beginning, there are so many more ways to find creativity - laughing - listening to great music - collaborating with new people. You can do it!!!

One last bonus idea - create a VISION BOARD. Sometimes pictures really are worth more. I wrote a two-part post about using vision/mood boards to better understand your clients. You might get some ideas there, too!

 
 
 

ps (perspective shift)

this entire post was about persepctive shifts! I don't have any more to add! Oh wait -- Bonus: imagine what a five year old would ask about you businesses. Why this? and Why that? Try answering those questions and see what you get!