Whether it’s dreaming up the perfect copy for a social media post, crafting a pitch for a key reporter, or strategizing how to report metrics to executives – the daily life of a communications professional requires a lot of widely-varied creative ideas and solutions!
Some days the creativity flows like a river and other days the creative process takes a little longer to get going, which is why I read two recent articles with great interest!
Creativity Isn’t About Talent, It’s a Mood
If you’re a fan of Monty Python, you’re a fan of co-founder John Cleese who – it turns out – is obsessed with creativity. This recent article describes some of Cleese’s best tips for setting the right mood for creativity which include:
- Creating a space/time oasis where you can get away from daily distractions and disturbances
- Sticking with problems just a little longer than when the “easy way out” appears… the alternative is almost always more creative
- My personal favorite: making mistakes because “while you’re being creative, nothing is wrong”
- Embracing humor, because it’s essential to spontaneity and playfulness, two key ingredients to creativity
- Keeping a light hold of the problem you’re pondering, as you’re likely to be rewarded with a creative solution when you least expect it
Encourage Creativity By Asking, “What If?”
Another recent article from The New York Times’ Well Family Blog describes how author Matt Richtel employed a simple “what if” exercise to encourage “a laid-back, nonjudgmental approach to open-ended thinking” among second-graders and kindergartners. He references research that claims that a good idea alone isn’t creative until it’s matched with execution and follow-through – and that’s where we come in. Although this article focuses on fostering creativity among children, the same principles apply to adults, particularly in the communications industry. A passage that caught my attention in this article mentions the balance between a whimsical, free mind and a prepared mind. The two are necessary to capture those big ideas and turn them into action.
So… What If?
What if after reading this blog post we all jotted down the problem at hand, then took a quick spin around the block, came back to a white board, wrote “What If” in big letters and started brainstorming? Have a few laughs and be prepared to sleep on your ideas, then grab the best ones and get a plan in place! We’d love to hear how these tips for creativity affect your next project – and if you have your own tips please share those, too!