Hit that wall again? Chill, everyone comes across a time when our brain suddenly refuses to work and try as we might, we can’t seem to come up with even the simplest of ideas, no matter how hard we try. The following are some tips and ideas that might help you unclog the ideation pipe so that your creative juices can flow freely once more.
Keep on chugging along
When it comes to ideas, the more, the merrier certainly rings true. One of the best ways to get a tonne of ideas in a short time is to brainstorm. In the midst of being silly and getting everyone to sprout ideas from the top of their head, you’re bound to find one or two brilliant thoughts that can serve as a springboard to a final working idea. What’s important here is to remember that no idea is too silly and to have an open mind for anything and everything. Oh…and also to have someone to capture or list the ideas down, because, it’s easy to get so caught up in spinning off an idea to the point that no one remembers to record it for discussion afterwards.
Take a look around
One of the most interesting things to do – and also the simplest – is to watch people. By observing how they go about their daily lives, there are many things we can learn, and quite possibly apply, to the challenge at hand. Of course, it helps to observe the people who are facing the challenge that you’re tasked with solving, e.g. how people enjoy their favourite beverage can uncover a new way to communicate a message to them. Need to figure out how to ‘sell’ a car? Visit a showroom and observe consumer behaviour, or even conduct a simple interview with the potential buyers. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll discover.
Break the routine
Give your day a different start. Forget the usual coffee and newspaper routine. Come to work using a different route. Or even with a different mode of transport. This change of scenery or habit can often trigger your mind in wondrous ways. Perhaps it was because of something you saw, tasted or heard. Either way, you’re bound to suddenly notice something that you usually took for granted previously. And this could be the tweak that gets your mental gears in motion once again.
Challenge the norm
Moving beyond merely breaking your routine, this takes a bit more effort as it involves doing something you’d never do in a million years (or so you thought). It could involve a short trip (or long, depending on your time constraints) to somewhere you’ve never been before, or even something as simple as visiting an art gallery, a museum or viewing a graffiti-adorned wall. New experiences can awaken something within us and help us see things in a new light. Go ahead and give it a try…who knows, you might even want to make it a standard operating procedure for life itself!
Kill that thought
Here’s something that completely goes against the grain of what you’re trying to achieve. When you stop forcing your brain to think of a concept or creative idea, you’ll find that the sudden lack of pressure actually makes it easier to be receptive to ideas that might have been playing around at the back of your head. One of the ways to stop thinking is to go and do something that allows you to daydream or something mindless like taking a walk or soaking away in a bathtub. Light up some aromatherapy incense. Close your eyes and listen to some chill step. In no time at all, something interesting is bound to pop into your head and say ‘Hello!’
Go the other way
An extension of going against the grain, this method involves approaching the challenge at hand and thinking of ways that people would NOT use to achieve an objective. E.g. Cross-selling BBQ equipment at the Meat/Party section in the hypermarket. Many innovative ideas have sprung forth when people challenged the status quo or acceptable way of doing something in the past. When everyone is telling you to go right, try going left, and see where that leads you.
To the Google!
Due to its prevalent nature, we often overlook Google as a solution to get ideas. Try randomly searching for things related to your current creative challenge, or hit the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button beneath the search bar after typing in a search term. It may not lead you to an immediate solution, but there’s a chance it could lead you to something that could trigger a fresh, new idea in your head. Think of it as applied randomness that could serve as the springboard to a wealth of ideas.
We trust the above tips and tricks could be enough to get your creative juices flowing once again, and in the rare event that they don’t, start the cycle all over again, this time with different terminologies or topics in mind. For the worst case scenario, go sleep on it. You might very well wake up with a million new ideas after a vivid trip to dreamland!
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