Lately I have read several great blogs on how to be creative. I read closely, even taking notes as I am one of those people that lack the creativity gene. The one thing that I find most frustrating while reading these blogs is that they tend to be written by people that I believe are creative. They demonstrate this skill on a regular basis in their tweets and blogs. They give great advice which is helpful, but might be missing the needs of those non-creative souls that find it difficult to generate their own creative juice. So I decided to write a short blog on how to be creative from someone who IS NOT CREATIVE but thinks that on some days I can fake it with the best of them.
Thinking of outside of the box ideas does not come easy for me and for all the rest of you that feel you are in a similar situation here are 6 simple ideas on how to get your creativity flowing:
1. Read, read, and do more reading. Spend time reading about topics that outside your normal bookshelf choices. Ask others about books or blogs that have been inspiring to them or changed the way that they viewed a topic. Find ways to be introduced to new material that is cutting edge and inspiring.
2. Follow interesting people on twitter. Don’t just follow friends or the most popular stars or the major organizations in your field, but follow people with different interests and different politic viewpoints. Most importantly follow COMEDIANS. Comedians are always talking about smart ideas, politics with a twist, and things that are popular. Interesting people talk about interesting things.
3. Surround yourself with smart people that are creative. During times where I am in groups that are brainstorming and thinking of outside the box ideas, it is easier for me to add to the conversation and be more creative. I am a builder, once a great idea has started I can easily add to it and think of new and innovative ideas to add to the conversation. I also like to hire this way. To keep a staff fresh and innovative having new energy and new ideas really helps get veteran staff thinking in new ways and can challenge supervisors and peers to dream big.
4. Use note functions in your cell phone, computer, or iPad. Often new ideas or sparks of new ideas, when they do come to me, come to me in the strangest places. I might be at the grocery story, reading a book in bed, or playing with my kids at the park. So being able to add these ideas to a note function on my cell phone allows me to remember them and address them later when I have more time.
5. Look for the weaknesses in your department, division, or organization that you can be the expert in. My supervisor recently asked all candidates what sets them apart and what made them special. Sometimes being the person in your department or office that is the go-to person on a topic forces you to do more research, be more innovative, and learn a new skill. It might not be in your job description, it might not be in anyone’s job description, but just having this skill adds value to you, your department, and the services you provide.
6. Think about what feels the most logical, the easiest, or straight forward way of doing something and do the complete opposite. Trying to do things in a different way can open new doors, spark new ideas, and offer more suggestions to a task at hand. Sometimes just asking the “why” questions and getting to the heart of a task can make you reexamine the “what”. For example if your “why” is to energize students, perhaps the way you reach that why could be completely different than you have always imagined. Since the end goal is the important part, it allows you to be much more creative with the process of getting there.
Know your strengths and if being innovative is not one of them utilize these simple tips to go from being creatively challenged to a creative genius. Please add to my list of 6 with ways that you get your creative juices flowing!