Creative Techniques: The Benefits Of The Right Creative Thinking Space

Apologies for my recent slackness in posting. New jobs demand new focus, so my head has been firmly in workspace.

creativity_booster_kit-250x300As part of that new role, I recently had the pleasure of attending a creative training session with Mark Hawkins of Inventium. Stacks of great, scientifically based insights and techniques for improving creativity.

I’m not going to delve too deeply into what Mark taught (hey, it’s how Inventium makes a living), but the issue of creative space resonated strongly with me. Where do you do your thinking?

In many corporations today, national designs infiltrate local offices, painting walls, ceilings and floors in a triple coat of beige. While this is great for accountants and senior management, who may only crack a smile when 100% conformity is reached, it often leaves workers in incredibly uninspiring environments.

Yes, the advertising and marketing worlds are usually different, but I’ve been dragged into many creative sessions with clients in the boardrooms of the bland.

If you have control over your creative environment, Inventium recommends warm colours and external images (i.e. natural scenes) on the walls to help stimulate creativity. If you don’t have control, open the front door and go for a walk.

I attempt a 20 minute walk every day. It’s good for my health, and (because I always take a problem out on the walk with me) it’s good for business. The break from routine, the natural environment and the change in my usual surroundings always helps my creativity.

Do it. Grab the handle, open the door and change your environment when you need that extra creative nudge.

Aurora – Steampunk Short Film

Awesome movie here from a South Australian team. Aurora has just picked up an award at Comic-Con in the Best Action/Adventure category.

 

Aurora proves that creativity doesn’t have to cost the earth. Produced for just $1800, this is a great example of what can be done on a shoestring.

Great Marketing: Let’s Cafe Latte Printer

One of my favourite ideas ever!

 

A great example of engaging consumers in a fun way, and bringing your brand to life (although I might have succumbed to the temptation of adding a brand logo to each picture). What do you think?

Creative Techniques: 4 Creative Tricks That Require No Skills

brilliant_mind_cs2Down and dirty. How do you generate different ideas consistently, without simply regurgitating the same things over and over?

Browse the web (or this blog) and you’ll find hundreds of idea generating posts. From complex techniques through to short and simple tips.

The problem is, and always has been, applying these techniques consistently.

 

So many people nod sagely and make notes every time they read a new post about idea generation, and then (with all good intentions) fail to follow any technique for more than a couple of days.

It’s human nature. We’re busy, we’re lazy. We forget. We get distracted. Our brains are hardwired for repetition, so we fall back into our old patterns.

So what is the answer? How do you keep the ideas flowing? Well, I’d be wasting your time if I just added another list of techniques, so here are four simple things I do to stay creative, which take no skills at all.

Read. Anything and everything. Read outside your interests. Creativity is input. Soak it up, baby.

Sleep. Get lots of it. If you have a project you’re thinking through, sleep on it.

Walk. Walk away from the desk. Walk in the sunshine. It helps you stay fit, and it helps your mind wander. Believe it or not, it takes discipline to leave your desk!

Turn the radio off in the car. I can’t recommend this from a driver safety perspective, but I can from a thinking perspective. Whenever I drive alone, I have a strict rule. I listen to the radio on one leg of the journey, but turn it off on the other. This forces me to think.

Ok, so it is another list. These tricks take no skill, but they will help you focus on your thinking. A certain level of creativity is inherent in everyone, but for those of us who are expected to perform creatively every day, skills must be improved, and discipline is vital.

Think about it.

Get Your Hands Off It

A new campaign by the NSW Government is a lot of fun. As reported on Mumbrella, the 3 minute video is a clever way of highlighting a serious issue.

However, I can’t help comparing its 115,000 views (at time of writing) with Dumb Ways To Die’s 48,000,000.

Creativity is often derivative. I can see the client’s hand in this. “We want the next Dumb Ways To Die”, instead of looking for something uniquely theirs.