Design Thinking

Can Creativity Truly be Made Easy?

By Minsoo Pak

Creativity – (noun │ cre·a·tiv·i·ty │ˌkrē-(ˌ)ā-ˈti-və-tē, ˌkrē-ə-) The use of imagination or original ideas; a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed.

Why does there tend to be the thought that creativity is in the hands of people who take photographs or write words, when in fact anyone who is good at anything is most likely doing it in the most creative way? As Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Sparks Grove, I use creative techniques every day to the point where it is almost second nature. That is not to say that simply because we are in the creative business is why we are thinking creatively. Whether it’s coming up with a new way to promote financial advisors talking about retirement, or how a global airline shares news and information, from campaigns to website design to everything in between we apply creativity in many different ways to get to the right answers for our clients.

To get to these right answers, I use these tools to help myself continually think creatively and come up with unique ideas:

  1. Turn your idea into a question. Sit down with a pen and paper, and formulate whatever idea you have into a question. The quest is to first come up with a hundred different answers to that one question. Now as you go back and edit what will invariably happen is you will start to funnel through the ideas as good and bad, and some will appear as great ideas. If you have a hundred ideas, you’ll get anywhere between 10-15 really great ideas.
  2. Think of the worst idea first. We tend to think about the best idea and the worst idea as being on opposite ends of a linear spectrum when that’s not in fact true. The best idea and the worst idea are sitting right next to each other on a circular path. They are not polar opposites, but in fact related to each other. So another way to get a creative idea, is to trick your brain by thinking of the worst idea first and while you think of why you would never proceed with that solution your brain is actually coming up with a creative idea that is possibly the best answer.
  3. Use the power of your subconscious. We need to capitalize on the way the human brain works. The most amazing thing about the human mind is that our subconscious is preprogramed to disobey our conscious. Placing a small idea into your conscious mind can prompt your subconscious to return a really interesting answer that it may have been stewing on for hours or days. Your goal is to then capture that as quickly as possible because sometimes those answers are groundbreaking.

I think there is tendency to believe that finding a creative solution is easy for some people. We’ve been told that we are creative or not creative based on the roles we’ve had. People who are placed in typically “non-creative” roles limit themselves to passing off the creative thinking to other people who are deemed in more “creative” roles, when really anyone who excels at something can be creative at doing that function, whatever it is.

To hear more about how I come up with creative ideas every day, check out my video, Creativity Made Easy.

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