How to be more creative (the fun way)

Stuck in a creative rut? Or just looking to generate some fresh ideas. I’ve been there and it’s not fun. Luckily, after hours of pounding my head against my desk, I’ve figured out a quick way to get the creative juices flowing and it starts by…

Demystifying Creativity

Sometimes people think of creativity as some magical gift only bestowed upon artists or sorcerers. And it’s true, it can often feel elusive, mysterious, even distant at times.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a skill that can be learned. Take it from Steve Jobs who said…

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.

It makes sense. Star Trek is just a western set in space. Glasses are just concave or convex lenses for your eyes. Nearly every creative idea we’ve ever had in our society is a mashup of two or more previous ideas. (Beg to differ? Hit me up in the comments.)

My point is creativity doesn’t have to be some mystical process. It can actually be easy, even fun…

A fun way to be more creative

Try out this game.

1. Pick something you know for sure you need to include in your creative idea.

For example, you may want/need to come up with a business idea for a subscription service. That will be your Pillar Idea: “Subscription business.”

Or maybe you’re trying to come up with a new movie idea that you know must have something to do with WWII. That will be your Pillar Idea: “WWII movie”

2. Now start randomly iterating through other ideas. Go bananas.

This is where it gets fun. Start listing completely unrelated ideas. For example:

  • Zombies
  • Websites
  • Exercise Balls
  • Books
  • Aliens
  • Burritos

This may make absolutely no sense at first. But that’s not the point. The point is to think outside the box here.

3. Connect your ideas (the fun part).

Use this formula to start connecting things:

Pillar Idea + Random Idea = Mashup

In the Mashups spot, give each idea the benefit of the doubt and try to write a convincing idea. You’ll be surprised at what you come up with. For example:

Subscription business + Burritos = Monthly frozen burritos delivered to your door.

Subscription business + Zombies = Online subscription Zombie movies-on-demand site.

Or, for the WWII movie idea:

WWII movie + Aliens = A mysterious spacecraft crash lands in the Mediterranean in the early years of the war, prompting an allied race to find it before the Nazis can retrieve it and harness its destructive power to turn the tide of the war.

WWII movie + Exercise Balls Dodgeball = A comedy in which both sides of the war must use dodgeballs to defeat each other.

As you can see, I started with Exercise Balls, but then Dodgeball popped into my head and seemed seemed funnier—this is totally okay in this phase. You’re trying to find ideas you actually enjoy.

That said, not all ideas are going to be great, no matter how you spin them.

Which is why we have step four…

4. Rank your ideas.

Cross out the ones that you think are dumb, don’t have legs, or have been done before.

Star the ones that you think could be fun, cool, or ones that just get you excited.

The goal is ultimately to find an idea that gets your gears turning, that you’re passionate about, because ideas lead to ideas.

Don’t love them? Try again! Or if you have one or two that might have potential, keep refining them. Be more specific. And remember to have fun with it.

You’re a lot more creative than you think, and fresh creative ideas are just around the corner. Would love to hear what creative ideas you’ve come up with. Let me know some of them in the comments below!

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