Sparking your Next Creative Idea

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Changing how you look at things can develop your creativity

Last week I explored some creative methods to help learning. Now let’s look at methods to help develop your creativity. It could be for your next presentation, training workshop, or to create engaging content for your customers. Below are some ideas to get you started.

Find things

Take it from Pippy Longstocking and be a thing finder. As she says “The whole world is full of things and somebody has to find them.” This means reframing, as Pippy demonstrates with her clear brand of enthusiasm:

“Suddenly, Pippi gave a terrific yell. “Well, I never saw the like,” she cried, as she picked up a large, rusty old tin can from the grass. “What a find! What a find! Cans, that’s something you can never have too many of.”

Tommy looked at the can doubtfully. “What can you use it for?”

“Oh, you can use it in all sorts of ways,” said Pippi. “One way is to put cookies in it. Then it becomes a delightful Jar with Cookies. Another way is not to put cookies in it. Then it becomes a Jar without Cookies.””

Finding things means keeping your eyes open. This can mean reading the stuff you might not normally read. You’ll be surprised what you’ll find.  Here’s an example.

@citizenM, like many hotels, have information in their rooms to help you know where things are and how they work. Essentially, this is a piece of technical writing. It contains a greeting to guests, information on the room layout and details of housekeeping. Sounds a bit boring, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s not. Here are three short extracts from citizenM’s The Big Useful Book of citizenM:

Their greeting: “To those who are smarter than a dolphin with a university degree and realize you can have luxury for not too much cash. To those who need a good bed, a cold drink and big fluffy towels. To all who are mobile citizens of the world. citizenM welcomes you all.”

On room layout: “Luggage sleeps in its cozy drawer under the bed.”

On housekeeping: “Iron heaven – today is the butler’s day off. Bring your shirts to iron heaven and steam them to perfection.” (Iron heaven is a special room for ironing complete with multiple irons used to decorate the room).

Who knew reading about humdrum stuff could be fun and inspirational?

Think green

Get out into nature. While Herman Melville wrote Moby Dick he lived in a 160 acre farm in Massachusetts which produced corn, pumpkin, turnips and potatoes. He found working in the field a great relief to his creative work. There’s a mass of international research showing that being in nature improves creativity, brain performance and mental health.

Melville also spent regular time with the farm’s animals. This is what he did first thing in the morning before he had his own breakfast:

I rise at eight and go to my barn to say good morning to the horse and give him his breakfast. Then pay a visit to my cow, cut up a pumpkin or two for her and stand by to see her eat it, for it’s a pleasant sight to see a cow move her jaws.

So. Get yourself a cow. Or a cat. Or cultivate a garden or flower box.

For other fascinating stories of how the famously creative find their inspiration check out the book, Daily Rituals. It’s an illuminating read.

P.S. If you don’t have a cow or a cat, you could try watching your significant other munching breakfast. Let me know how that works out for you.

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