The romantic concept of creativity resembles the heroic and the somewhat bohemian. The problem is when it perceived beyond the human scope and it is left to a handful of chosen, “creative” people.
Here are some practical ways you can spur the creativity of your team.
Scott Berkun nails it quite well when he says that “creativity is a kind of work.”
Make a Remix
“Everything is a remix” as expressed in the series of videos created by Kirby Ferguson.
Henry Ford brought together the assembly line and the automobile. He caused quite an impact on the industry as a whole. He reinvented the world with his remix.
Sweeney Todd mixed “musical film” and “horror movie.” And it works.
Even avocado flavored shakes, which I would not recommend, but I nonetheless recognize as an “interesting” remix.
The thing is to get creative and see what comes out of it.
In the words of Gabriel García Márquez, “he who has no memory, makes one up out of paper.”
Have a place where to pour your ideas. This is a good way to rescue ideas that would otherwise drown among a sea of other stuff.
Writing things down, makes them easier to remember. Pouring our mind onto paper helps us to clear our limited working memory.
Also, write down the time of each entry and try to find the patterns of your creative pace.
Solve an Opposing Problem
When the going gets tough, Berkun suggests an interesting activity: try to resolve the opposing problem.
For example, brainstorm to find the worst idea possible. The thing is to consider a situation where the worse an idea is, paradoxically, the better, so that people could react to it without fear of being wrong.
The purpose is to make it easier for more people to participate. Once the ball is rolling, it’s just a matter of harnessing its momentum.
Walk on Mirrors
Find an analogy that mirrors the problem you’re addressing, and work on it.
Twist the Problem
If your problem is very general, formulate a more concrete one.
Are there any subproblems? Is your problem a component of a yet bigger problem?
What’s the big picture?
Watch it from all possible angles. List the assumptions and constraints you are facing. Try to remove one or two, or perhaps all of them.
Twist everything as much as it makes sense for you. Ideas don’t break.
Draw a Venn diagram, a flowchart, a sketch design, a representation of the elements involved, any possible description. Whatever it is, draw something. The important thing here is to visualize all available information.
You Are Creative
Finally, it is important to bear in mind two essential aspects to have the proper mindset.
- Consider yourself as an individual with creative potential and stop passing creative responsibility on to others.
- Share ideas, receive them, donate them, watch them arrive and then let go of them.
As in everything, practice makes perfect, and there is no better way to master creativity than creating it yourself.