5 Ways to Cultivate Creativity

Fun Ways to Cultivate CreativityWe’ve long known that creativity is a complex process, one that is subjective, elusive and hard to measure. Yet despite its elusive nature, creativity has increasingly taken hold of our life. As a key driver of business value, innovation and marketing effectiveness, the ability to come up with original, mold-breaking ideas has become a powerful competitive advantage in the business world. But as research has found, creativity is also a technical skill that can be taught, practiced and developed. Like exercise, the more you practice the better you will get.

But even while you’re working on flexing your idea-generating muscles, distractions, stress and life can push you to hit a creative wall. So how can you get the juices flowing again and cultivate a creative mind?

1. Start by Being Curious

Steve Jobs once said “Creativity is connecting things.” Understanding the relationships, interactions and harmonies lies as the core of “connecting things”.  As a result, a good strategy for increasing your creativity is developing a deep curiosity about life. Being curious about anything and everything around you, asking a lot of questions (“how do you make an avocado rose” or “why is Austin weird”) and seeking inspiration from other industries can not only spark the creative fire, but also help you enjoy the process and life in general.

2. Seek Out Positivity 

A study exploring how emotional states affects creativity found that feeling positive emotions benefits the brain’s creative network. In other words, thinking positively and focusing on something that makes you happy will certainly help your creative flow.

3. Be Open to New Experiences

People who are open to change and challenging themselves often exhibit higher levels of creativity. Research shows that cultivating a greater openness towards novelty has a direct effect on being more creative. So to unblock your mind, seek out new experiences: explore a new neighborhood, listen to new music or a great audiobook, find your way out of an escape room.

4. Challenge Yourself 

When your spark tends to fizzle try using a lateral thinking exercise to break free of your current thinking pattern and change perceptions about the task at hand. This could mean writing down all the important brand values for your client and deliberately changing them to something random or even crazy. One of our favorite creative exercises at Screamer Co. is to think of “what would we never, under any circumstance do for or say about this client” and then start to develop creative concepts particularly for that direction. This novelty-generating creative process rarely solves the problem directly, but it always opens up a new way of thinking about the task at hand. Ultimately, it leads to original and adaptive ideas and a creative solution.

5. Keep on Practicing

In his best-selling book “Outliers”, author Malcolm Gladwell wrote that “ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness,” mean that, in order to achieve expertise in any profession one must put in minimum of 10,000 hours of work. So when all the other creativity-inducing tactics fail, just keep focused on honing your craft and try to enjoy process.

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