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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Idea Generation Techniques Part of Creative Process

Anyone interested in creativity gets inundated with a few million or so page hits when they enter that term into their search engine. Try the scholarly searches and specialty databases and you can add a few million more. Many of the hits are the ubiquitous "10 ways to be more creative" or "how to be creative" if the author is really bad at title writing.

As a creative industries worker I often wondered if there was an easier way to get ideas. This usually happened as I tried yet again to write original and witty copy for home window replacement. Or technical specs for industrial ovens. And, like anyone else, this was usually within hours of a deadline.

So I read all the creativity books that suggested I needed a whack on the side of the head or that I needed to wear different hats, a total of six. This is not to say that authors Roger von Oech or Edward di Bono were wrong, I was able to pick up some pointers and struggle through many a writer's block. In the end and a library full of self-help books later I had quite a collection of ways to generate ideas.

The problem is, those methods don't exist in a vacuum, they are just part of a process. Factors like motivation, interest, and social support can impact your ability to generate the results you want. And as for impending deadlines, those that swear they do better work under penalty aren't being truthful. You may come up with something, but it isn't necessarily your best work. You may be able to get away with less than stellar results for a while but you aren't being creative.

Creativity doesn't work on a 9-5 schedule either, no matter what your boss thinks which is why I think naturally talented creative people need to find work that suits their personality, not their paycheck.

For the rest of us, learn those idea generation techniques, find out what is the optimum environment for the projects you do, and make sure to surround yourself with people who appreciate you for the creative person you are. Everyone has creative ability, it's just a matter of to what degree and how you train yourself to improve it.

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