Admit it. You lose contact with your ability to be creative sometimes. Or, maybe you think you’re not the creative type. Truth is – everyone’s creative. Truth is – everyone sometimes gets stuck regurgitating tired ideas that put even themselves to sleep. Here are some ways to return to the creativity to your business.
Read The Unrelated.
Creativity isn’t discovering something new. It’s making new connections between old things. Pick up that teen magazine and an idea on how to write about that IT seminar may jump into your lap. Read U.S. News & World Report in search of an idea you can connect with your ad for your new hair styling product. I once based an insurance product sales brochure on something from the National Enquirer.
Loosen up. Life’s too short. Take a break and do something you enjoy. You’ll get a fresh perspective and start new ideas flowing. Remember Archimedes in the bath tub. (I didn’t think you’d remember him. Archimedes, a great ancient Greek mathematician, physicist, and inventor, was stumped. His ruler wanted him to devise a way to tell whether a crown was pure gold or alloyed with silver. Solutions avoided him like cockroaches avoid light. Then when he took a break to take a bath he had a brainstorm. As he stepped into the water and watched it rise, Archimedes realized that a given weight of gold would displace less water than an equal weight of silver because it’s not as dense. Legend has it that in his excitement about his discovery he ran home naked shouting “Eureka! Eureka!” (“I have found it!” “I have found it!”))
Look Under The Hood.
Maybe your creative engine is starved for fuel. You may need more information about the project or the audience. Ask your client or source more questions about what you’re trying to accomplish. Set up an informal focus group. Call in your management team. Creativity often requires a sea of research. The writers for John Hancock’s award winning “Real Life” ad campaign got several of their ideas by spending long hours hanging out in a bar listening to people discuss their financial worries. (“No, boss, that’s not a beer, that’s part of my research.”)
We all have a place or person or book that never fails to inspire. Make contact. Spend some time relaxing with that enthusiastic presence. Good things happen when you’re in a good place or with a good person or in the mind of another creative. Whose brain do you like being around? Who always seems to be working on something wacky? Go see them. I have a few books that always offer me nourishing food for thought whenever I pick them up. Mind Your Own Business! by Murray Raphel and The Wizard of Ads by Roy H. Williams are two.
- Create Something Awful
Want to ruin good creative people? Go through their trash. The best creatives create awful Frankenstein-ish things. They realize that’s usually the only way to do their best creative work. First create the monstrosities; then come the beauties. Writers in particular work like sculptors. To develop a great 500 words they may write a terrible 2,500 words. Then, like sculptors, writers begin to chip away and polish, chip away and polish, chip away and polish.
- Do the Opposite
Let’s say you want to come up with the five greatest reasons why people should shop in your store or why your product is superior to the competition’s product. Take the opposite point of view. Brainstorm about all the reasons why your store stinks. Write a list of negatives about your cherished product. (This is not for the faint of heart.) Then, just flip the arguments upside down to get your creativity right side up. For example, if you want to promote your one woman interior design business, a nasty negative might be, “no staff, no associates, no backup.” Turn that around and say, “You always deal with the business owner and get immediate decisions.”
Creativity is key to business. It’s creativity that helps invent the new killer product. Creativity makes your stand out from the crowd and get noticed. Creativity finds a way to cut production costs by a third. Creativity opens your eyes to new ways to get your customers to buy again. So, get creative. It’s good business.
Chris Amorosino is the president and founder of Amorosino Writing LLC, a communications firm in Unionville. You can reach him at 860-673-0089 or firstname.lastname@example.org.