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Where do good ideas come from? My guide to Creative Thinking.

Updated: Apr 17, 2023

Great ideas await in the parameters of everyday thinking - ready to emerge given the extra attention they require. It is this 'extra attention' that we'll be unpicking across the next 5 steps to achieving more creative thinking.

1. Curiosity

We all have one in our business, a curious mind, courageous in questioning and creative in thinking. More often than not, these minds may frequently experience the rolling of eyes due to their curiosity for the absurd.

However, it is the innovative mind, unafraid of treading the untrodden path, that best helps keep businesses moving forward.

Things are changing every day, which requires awareness and curiosity to spot. If you, therefore, silence your most aware and curious creatives you could be doing a disservice to your business. Instead, we need to learn how to better befriend curiosity within our marketing team and business.

2. Awareness and Empathy

Having an awareness of the majority, the minority, and the way in which each of us comes to experience the world means good ideas can form out of a broad awareness and not from our creative egos/world.

For instance, it is suggested that we experience the world in four unique ways, the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Great ideas, therefore, need to consider the experience within the idea so that it is received in the way we wish for it to.

Awareness of your audience is therefore important in conjuring ideas that meet people’s communicative needs.

What I would also say here is that audience research and awareness shows you where the lines may be drawn with certain ideas. However, always use this as a guide as success can often lie in unexplored places, that even your audience may not have ventured to. So, be aware of your audience and their experience of your idea and brand. An unhappy customer is known to cause way more damage than a happy one.

3. A creativity-safe environment

Creativity must have an environment free of judgement and restriction to flow.

We can do this by allowing creativity between every one of our team members, regardless of hierarchy or area of expertise. For instance, Steven Johnson said that innovation is more prominent in condensed networks (offices/cities) due to ideas being able to flow more freely in between minds. This is therefore less likely in environments that aren't as creativity inclined.

Creativity needs trust, time, care, security and freedom to fly out of us willingly, without the expectation of ‘something good’ coming from it because pressure can often stifle creative thinking. Why else do ideas come to us in the most random of occasions (i.e, the shower). This leads us nicely onto…

4. Brainstorm Inceptions / Befriending your own creativity first.

A brainstorm is a spontaneous act to conjure ideas for a particular project and/or problem however creativity in all of us requires something different to emerge which is why I believe the best ideas come out of brainstorming inceptions. Brainstorms before, during and after brainstorms, give projects a great portion of time to be explored, consciously and unconsciously. For example, has an idea ever come to you when you weren’t knowingly thinking of the project? Most probably.

Brainstorm slots alone can also create a sense of urgency, pressure, and restraint which some people may or may not prefer. So, I would say consider a Brainstorm inception day where your head is allowed to brainstorm both in the subconscious and conscious. For example, encourage your staff to have a solo brainstorm with their own thoughts, then have a designated whiteboard for the next 24 hours in the office that people can add to over the course of the day. The next morning people can then subconsciously think and sleep on their concepts ready to talk about their thoughts the next day, giving ideas to form with creative flexibility as our environments and mental performance changes across the span of 24 hours. Me, I always brainstorm before a brainstorm as my mind works a lot quicker in my own head and on paper than in a spontaneous meeting.

5. Be inspired

Allow yourself to be inspired by other great ideas. This can often give us a good 'creativity benchmark' (or idea) within our industry and audiences that can help us determine where ideas have tread before us.

Sometimes two average ideas can also make a great idea. So, it’s not always the singular idea itself that will achieve greatness, it is the combination of various concepts that can make up a singularly good idea. This promotes the fact that ideas aren’t born out of us already formed, they take time to construct and mould to our audience, business, and vision. And moulding those ideas to our business is vital to creating true and authentic relationships with our customers and the world around us. So, be inspired by others' ideas an your own ideas.

Right, let's call that a creative day well spent! For more, connect with me on Linkedin via this button here. You can expect more creativity tips and creative marketing guidance for you and your marketing team. See you over there!

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