Are you sick of the bossman’s creativity workshops? Desperately grasping at fluffy ideas? Far from being a buzzword, creativity is that essential juice boost all of us need to innovate novel ideas. Here are just a couple of ways you can stay creative and inspired!
1) Put yourself in the Shoes of a User
Put yourselves in the shoes of a user instead of a mere creator. What would an everyday user need and think of improving on? What would users in different environments require instead? Many users often realize their design blindspots after thinking of how very different people may use their products. Taking a needs approach can certainly boost the creative process.
The bicycle is great example of this, where a great many modifications were carried out by users instead of the manufacturers. Stunt Bikers did stunts instead of everyday cycling, and made creative modifications that accommodated to their needs. Putting yourselves in shoes of your future users will give push your creativity.
2) Intervallic breaks
This seems like a cliche, but our corporate culture often demonizes the concept of taking breaks. Intervallic breaks are useful for pattern seeking people. Have a static pattern of hammering out solutions? Get it dancing to a more creative rhythm of work, rest and repeat.
An example of such a rhythm is the Pomodoro technique. It involves working on your ideas for 25 minutes, followed by a short 5 minute break. After four cycles, you can take a longer break of 15-30 minutes.
3) Thinking Outside-the-Box Questions
Instead of cracking your skull for model answers, why not try asking creative questions? There are broadly three kinds of questions you can ask, factual, exploratory and bizarre. Factual questions don’t require much creative input and have assumed answers. (Should I get my furniture from IKEA?; Should I get matching furniture to ensure uniformity?) To stay creative, try asking more exploratory and bizarre questions.
Exploratory questions involve asking many “why?” questions, which inevitably lead to more creative “how?” questions. (Why should we get matching furniture?; Do I value creative expression or uniformity?, How do I ensure creative expression and a fun furniture arrangement while ensuring some uniformity?” Exploratory questions don’t assume readymade informational pathways, and open up avenues for creative adaptation.
Thinking-Outside-the-Box questions operate beyond the limits of the current problem. “Is it wheelchair friendly?”, “What would it be like in outer space?”, “What would Jesus do?” As bizarre as some of the questions may be, they catapult your ideas into innovative territory.
4) Take a Walk and Let it Brew
Sometimes, we need to just shut off the laptops and get out of that box like cubicle that we occupy day in, and day out. Instead of finished dishes, ideas are more like ingredients. We need to provide the right conditions for them to brew in our skulls, and letting the pressure reach boiling point may not always be the best solution.
Take up the habit of taking solitary and mindful strolls around your nearest park and put aside the idea for awhile. Even if the idea goes somewhere else, a better one will take it’s place.
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