No matter the industry, generating creative ideas is necessary for making projects more innovative and successful. We tend to become set in routine and schedule, and similarly our way of thinking can become patterned and one note. Some of the best thinking happens outside of the workplace when we’re not forcing ourselves to be creative. Here are tips for being naturally innovative:
This seems counterintuitive, but try writing for ten minutes straight without pausing or stopping to think. Vanderbilt professor Bob Isherwood, former creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi, first introduced this activity to me and I’ve done it every day since I first began. The writing can be about anything, work related or personal as long as you – again this is very important – do not stop. It’s highly recommend that you use pen and paper; the physical action of writing will be more provoking and visceral than a computer. To be clear, undirected writing is different from journaling because when you journal you inadvertently edit your own thoughts. Writing without direction will force you to confront ideas that you may have not previously even been cognizant of.
Whatever you enjoy the most to get your heart pumping – running, kickboxing, yoga – dedicate time out of the week to a form of physical activity. Harvard Health Blog explains how regular exercise promotes brain activity. From releasing stimulative chemicals to improving mood and sleep, the science proves that physical activity will help you think. To maximize creativity try this: brainstorm ideas for thirty minutes before and thirty minutes after you exercise. You’ll be giving yourself a break from work, but also utilizing the creative benefits of exercise most effectively.
We’re not all artists, but I’m a firm believer that everyone should doodle. As young children we start drawing long before speaking, but some of us just stop after learning to communicate in other ways. The point of doodling is not to create something aesthetically beautiful. Like undirected writing, doodling forces you to confront your ideas in a physical, spontaneous manner. Even if your sketch is unrecognizable to others, you overcome personal barriers just to create it. You had to develop a concept, present your ideas in a way you usually do not, and become comfortable in an uncomfortable medium: all barriers that we strive to overcome in the workplace.
It’s difficult to force creativity, so don’t. Hopefully these tips will help you be more naturally creative inside and outside the workplace. If you try one of these activities and find yourself teeming with innovative thoughts, tell us all about it in the comment section below!