“A great idea comes between the bad and the absurd”
If you’ve been hitting a brick wall with your creativity, then you’re probably looking for some guidance in how to bring out your inner creative. Sometimes the brainstorming process doesn’t go as smoothly as we’d hope, so we’ve got a few tips for you to help
Jason Keath gave a great presentation at the 2014 Social Fresh conference on how to get your creative juices flowing and up the creativity anty. During his talk he focused on brainstorming process. Brainstorming is one of the most popular ways people come up with ideas.
Avoid These Creative Pitfalls
First, let’s talk about mistakes that are made during the brainstorming process. There are two main mistakes people make:
- Only taking 15 minutes to get 12 solutions to a problem and voting on the best one
- Making a brainstorm session within another meeting, which had nothing to do with brainstorming in the first place
Time is key. Allow yourself enough time to come up with ideas. You can’t crank out brilliant ideas in 20 minutes. Creativity comes from persistence and time. Jason says, “having a 15 minute brainstorm session is like trying to eat a giant salad once a week and be healthy, when you eat two cheeseburgers a day.” Essentially, you’re not getting any benefit, if you don’t put real work and time into it.
Improving Your Creative Process
- Allow yourself ample time. It’s 2015, we are all busy. Being too busy is not an excuse. You must set aside a block of time to come up with ideas. Make this time a priority. Focus on one thing at a time.
- Put time into actually planning the meeting.
- Develop ideas BEFORE the brainstorming session.
- Have an agenda, goal, decision maker and follow up plan. Make sure these are carried out. The decision doesn’t always have to be the boss. It can be someone who knows the problem well that you’re trying to solve.
- Give yourself permission to be creative. Do not be afraid of bad or crazy ideas. Often brainstorming can be intimidating. Write every idea you have down. The more ideas you have, the more options you have to share and expand with colleagues.
- Try assigning people to come up with ideas before the meeting. However, comprise and present people’s ideas anonymously in the meeting. Don’t link ideas with names this way no one will feel criticized.
- Have more ideas! What we mean is if you’re trying to come up with one solution have an array of ideas to work with. For example, the writers on ‘Saturday Night Live’s, Weekend Update’, write an average of 800 jokes for the 15 they tell in their segment. So, if you’re working on a project come up with at least 50 ideas.
“Ideas happen when expertise brushes against life experience.”
Get Out There and Live
In order to make all of this come together you have to go out and experience life. It’s important to rub shoulders with people from different backgrounds, who speak different languages. If you can’t travel, connect with people who do. Remember the advantages of social media! You can interact with people from all over the world from the comfort of your office chair. We’d recommend video chatting if you can’t do it in person. You can gain new perspectives by connecting with new people and getting out of your comfort zone. Give it a shot. You’ll be surprised how the creative juices start flowing.
You can’t come up with creative solutions and ideas without new life experiences, or meeting new people to share different viewpoints and ideas. It’s important that you stretch yourself and experience as many new things as you can. That’s what in all comes down to. That, and allowing yourself the time and permission to be creative. With a little planning and effort, you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish.
What are the best ways you like to brainstorm? Is there a time of day you like better than others? What about certain days? How do you organize your team and ideas? We can’t wait to hear your thoughts in the comments below!