Oh wow, this is a tough challenge. 🤯 Of course, as marketers and advertisers, we crave creativity, as if it were going to validate our branding & digital agency. Well, that may be partially right!
For a long time, we thought being creative meant being either an artist or just a bit crazy. "They must be crazy or use drugs to have such an original idea," we thought deep down in front of a piece of modern art. But, thank God, we don't need drugs to be creative. Actually, creativity is a process—a very specific, complex process that requires a few things. So if you feel like you're in a creativity rut, or need help coming up with new ideas, don't worry – you're not alone. Let's dive in!
What the f*** is creativity?
Creativity is often defined as the ability to develop new and novel ideas. But that's a boring definition, and you're not here to be bored. (But if you do, we have some laundry to do... just proposing, we never know!) Some others would like to define creativity as the ability to link two (or more) original concepts together; this one is already more interesting. But, we'd like to give our own definition of creativity:
Creativity = knowledge + problem + divergent thinking + collaboration.
And, if you miss one part of the equation, your creativity will collapse. (Funny, we were never good at maths, but when it comes to creativity, it feels exciting!) Anyways!
However, creativity is more than just coming up with new ideas. It also involves the ability to see things in new ways, combine ideas in unexpected ways, and find new ways to solve problems. But if we recap, humans, by definition, are problem solvers. Our brain is supposed (when we're not tired from partying too much) to solve problems in more "creative ways,": meaning with a new solution. You remember a famous quote from Einstein," We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." this just means if you're facing a specific situation, looking for new ideas to solve a problem, you really have to think outside the box you're in! Voila, voila.
And relax because no one was born creative; creativity is a skill you nurture.
Where does creativity come from? Understanding how your brain works.
To understand how the creative process appears, you must understand how your brain 🧠 works. How the connexions between two concepts appear, and what parts of your brain get triggered when it needs to create something. Basically, and because we're not neurologists, what we can tell is that our brain likes to think by itself. We have some storage capacity in our brain that memorizes, classifies, or erases ideas, and concepts and creates some association between those two concepts.
Remember, the main goal of our brain is to understand a message from our body and activates behaviors to survive. Empty stomach= low energy= need food to sustain. Okay, great. So if we use that example when you're hungry, your body won't naturally crave water, let's say. But, if it craves food, it's mainly because we taught our brain that food is the way to eliminate our hunger. So we created a path in our brain that says: "empty stomach=food" when we could have taught our brain "empty stomach=water." And those connexions go on and on: "low energy= sleep," "bad mood=laugh," "danger=run," "need an agency= call bract" (hehe, we wished), etc.
We created automatisms in our brains that get us stuck in the same thinking process.
So if you're still stuck in the same bubble, the first thing is to question those associations of ideas, and for that, we have a few tricks.
1- Trick your brain by taking a break from work
Our brain can be our best friend or worst enemy; we just saw it. Even if we love to push it as far as possible, it likes to think by itself. Like a kid or puppy. (We like kids and puppies, it's just an example) Like, this one morning when you really need to come up with a fantastic, brilliant idea, and it is off. And you push it, push it, but nothing comes up. Arghhh, whyyyy. 😩
If so, it might be time to take a break from work. We know you will tell us, "you're funny, but I need this to be done by yesterday" Calm down, Karen, if you can't have it down now, it's for a reason. And the main reason may be that you're burning out from having to come up with a creative solution. The main problem of creative thinking is that it needs freedom. Free to elaborate, make new connections, and explore.
This doesn't mean skipping out on your responsibilities altogether but rather taking time to relax and recharge. For example, go for a walk to clear your head or watch a movie to take your mind off things. Or why not read for pleasure instead of working again late at night? Dedicating some time to leisure activities can help you return to work feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever comes your way. And if you want to trick your brain, the good news is great ideas come from unexcepted moments. So next time you're feeling bogged down by work, remember that it's okay to take a break - you'll be back to being your productive self in no time.
2- Watch and act like a 4 years old kid
After all, what really stops you from being creative? Conventions! We live in a disciplined, organized society with values, manners, and laws. And as soon as we step up or stop following those rules, we appear strange to other people. (Strange, stranger, interesting). But questioning those conventions doesn't make you weird; it just frees you.
Who's freer than a kid? Free to run everywhere, eat with their hands, laugh, cry when they want, throw their toy in the face, and scream so loud you could get tinnitus. Who could do that and still be accepted by the group? No one! BUT, a kid is also someone free to think. 🤓 To elaborate, to create those connexions we missed because they haven't already created those pathways in their brains.
So, because you can't naturally go back to your childhood, you can still act like a kid. Meaning: adopt the same behaviors. A coach told us one day to run like a kid for 5 minutes. It felt weird and uncomfortable in the beginning, but the magic happened. It seemed that our body felt that we were starting to free it, so our brain naturally adapted, and the creative flow appeared.
Super funny experience; we recommend it. Maybe not in front of your big boss, but still.
3- Draw inspiration from others - look at other people's artwork, read poetry, or listen to music.
As we were not born in early 1200, we have the chance to come after millions of super inspiring, creative artists who questioned pretty much everything. And no worries, we still have a lot to do! Looking to others is a great way to find inspiration. We said "inspiration," not copying others, obviously. But questioning their art, getting to know their story, and trying to analyze the message will definitely direct your brain in a different direction. And that's where new ideas and new links will appear.
After all, we are surrounded by creativity every day. By taking some time to appreciate the artwork of others, whether it's a painting hanging in a museum or a friend's doodle, we can open ourselves up to new possibilities and perspectives. Reading poetry is another excellent way to jump-start your creativity and create new connections in your brain. Not only will you be exposed to the beautiful language, but you'll also gain insight into how other people see the world.
And last but not least, don't forget about the power of music. Whether you're listening to your favorite band or exploring a new genre, music can lift our spirits and ignite our imaginations. So next time you're stuck, remember that inspiration is all around you - just waiting to be discovered.
4- Be open to new experiences and ideas - try something you've never done before, visit a new place, or talk to someone different from you.
Life is all about experiences. Good, bad, happy, sad, fun, and boring experiences. (Unfortunately, not all blog posts are as funny as ours.) They all make up the fabric of our lives and shape who we are. Without new experiences, we would all be stuck in a rut, never growing or changing. That's why it's essential to be open to new experiences and ideas.
Trying something you've never done before is a great way to push yourself out of your comfort zone and learn something new. It can be something as simple as trying a new recipe or learning a new skill. Or it could be something more adventurous, like going on a hike or skydiving. Whatever it is, challenging yourself with new experiences will help you grow and learn more about who you are. So don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new today! (Yes, go and ask your crush out!!)
5- Practice mindfulness - focus on the present moment and appreciate all that is around you
One of the best ways to appreciate the present moment is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness means being fully present and aware of your surroundings without judgment.
Focusing on your breath and counting each inhale and exhale can be helpful. You might also pay attention to the sensations in your body, the sounds around you, or the thoughts going through your mind. The key is to observe whatever is happening without getting caught up in evaluation or analysis. Mindfulness can help you appreciate the simple things in life, like the soft breeze on your skin or the sound of leaves rustling in the wind. In a fast-paced world, it can be easy to forget to stop and smell the roses. By practicing mindfulness, you can slow down, savor all around you, and finally realize that that super-challenging project is not so important.
6- Daydream - allow your mind to wander and explore different possibilities
You remember your teacher in 8th grade asking you: "Karen, what is so interesting outside? Why do you keep looking out the window"? Well, good news, your teacher died and you're free to look wherever you want!
What if you could fly? What if you could travel back in time? What if you won the lottery? What if you suddenly went on the stage in front of 500 people without any stress? What would you say?" Daydreaming allows your mind to explore different possibilities and can be a lot of fun. When you daydream, your mind is free to roam. You can let your imagination run wild, and you don't have to worry about the practicalities of everyday life.
Daydreaming can also help you to relax and de-stress. It's a great way to break from reality and escape your everyday problems. So next time you find some free time, why not allow your mind to wander and explore different possibilities? Who knows what you might discover.
And remember, if you can dream it, you can do it.
7- Break the rules - keep questioning things
One of the best things about creativity is that there's no limit. Just like art, there are no rules. Sure, some guidelines can help you create a successful piece of art, but ultimately, it's up to you to decide what is more powerful to convey your message. So don't be afraid to experiment with different mediums, techniques, or styles. Trying new things is how great artists are made. Who knows, you might create something truly unique.
By questioning things, you'll naturally free your mind from conventions, and that's the beauty of it. You'll solve 90% of the problem by just asking, "Does it really need to look like this? Does it really convey the message I want to share? If we could turn this upside down, would it still work? Would it change something if we added another color, or 4?", the list goes on and on...
Creativity isn't only about coming up with brand-new ideas; it's also about looking at the world from a different perspective and seeing things differently. By taking time for yourself, exploring other people's work, and being open to new experiences, you can train your brain to be more creative. And don't forget to have fun with it! Sometimes the best ideas come when you break the rules and experiment.
We hope it was helpful,
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