Jonah Kehrer, an American author who’s famous for tackling topics from neuroscience and psychology, explained the patterns of creativity in his book Imagine: How Creativity Works. According to Kehrer, imagination is not separate from other kinds of cognition. This function of the brain is based on its ability to combine insights, perspective, and information with the purpose to approach the subject from a different angle.
Every function of the brain can and should be practiced. There are effective techniques that will make you more creative; you just need to stay committed to your goal! Analyze the following 7 methods and experiment with them to find out which ones work well for you:
Reframe problems by asking the right questions!
One of the best ways to unlock innovation is to reframe the problem. Ask different questions that don’t have only one right answer. When you change the frame, you’ll be able to approach the problem from a different angle and think of few unexpected solutions. Start with ‘why’.
Connect and combine different ideas!
Different thoughts and ideas hit you even when you’re struggling to reach your highest level of creativity. Even when these ideas seem useless, try to take them into consideration. Connect different thoughts and use them to create unexpected combinations. Compare the ideas between each other, and you’ll most likely come up with cool metaphors and analogies.
Remember what Steve Jobs said: “The key to creativity is to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then to bring those things into what you’re doing.” You probably have access to other people’s ideas and solution to the particular issue you’re struggling with. You can combine them into a non-obvious pattern and you’ll have a completely new idea on the rise.
Don’t run with the first solution you discover. It might not be the best one!
The creative state of mind thrives on ideas. The first idea you come up with may seem brilliant, but don’t limit yourself to it; maybe it’s not the best solution you have. Open yourself to different opportunities! Have you heard of Tim Hurson’s ‘the third third’ concept? In his book Think Better, the author elaborates an interesting method of brainstorming.
For example, let’s say you’ve set a goal to come up with 60 ideas. The first third of these ideas (the first 20 of them) will be the most obvious picks. They will hardly offer anything interesting. The second third of the ideas you got through brainstorming will be more interesting. This shift results from your mind’s inclination to scratch the surface of mediocrity. Then, you’ll start getting even better ideas. The third (last 20 ideas) will be the most unexpected, unusual, and innovative potential solutions.
That’s an interesting way of awakening your creativity, isn’t it?
The creative state of mind is not unconscious. You need to observe, collect tons of data, and try to examine the information you have from different angles. When you pay attention to every single detail, you’ll be able to act more boldly.
Sometimes inspiration does come out of nowhere, but when you can’t act passively when you want to kindle it.
Surround yourself with creativity!
Have you noticed that your mind works differently when you change location? Each space has a different energy that makes you respond appropriately. Before you start generating ideas, you need to make sure that the surroundings don’t suppress your ability to think creatively. Is your working area messy? If your desk is cluttered with pens, paper, and several coffee cups, you’ll just get distracted. If everything is too neat, on the other hand, you’ll lack visual stimulation.
You need to personalize your environment in a way that boosts your creativity. Of course, you cannot lock yourself in the same room for days or months when you’re trying to come up with a creative solution. Take walks and allow different surroundings to change the way you feel and think.
Impose restrictions upon yourself!
Believe it or not, constraints can make you more creative. For example, let’s say you’re writing a novel. You have access to state-of-the-art writing software that limits distractions and enables you to format the content to perfection. Plus, it supports an auto-correct function! That will hardly make you more creative, though. Sometimes the best solution is to go back to basics. If pen and paper are all tools you need, maybe you don’t need to complicate the process too much.
When you get stuck even though you have access to an abundance of resources, try to see how you function without them.
Whether you like it or not, risks and failures are inevitable parts of the creative process. Some ideas will take you to great heights, but others simply won’t work. If you are afraid to experiment, you won’t be getting any ideas to start with. Creativity means doing things that no one has done before. In other words, it doesn’t work without taking risks.
Don’t be afraid to throw some of your ideas away. If you’re not dismissing a large number of ideas, then you aren’t trying hard enough to think of plenty of options!
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