We all have our creative rituals that we swear by - that favorite playlist, sacred thinking spot, or strong cup of coffee in the morning - but the truth is that creating new ideas is like plunging into a dark unknown abyss. Inspiration and creativity come and go in waves and is seemingly unpredictable. Nevertheless, when that one good idea hits us, it has the impact to change our way of thinking entirely. But how can those insights be harvested?
There is no secret formula to producing great work, and one strategy may work for one project, but not another. In the hopes of cracking some of these insights to boost creativity, here are 5 universal tips to help you produce your best work possible.
1. Tackle projects you’re passionate about
There’s no doubt that everyone produces their best work when they’re happily and positively invested in it. Pursue projects that you’re passionate about. Not only will this make the experience more enjoyable, but the work that comes out of it will be of higher quality, more insightful, and more impactful for others. If you’re like most people in this world, you may not have the luxury of choosing what creative projects you work on. If this is the case, take the time to invest yourself in side projects or volunteer opportunities to do what you truly love. You may be surprised how much a creative hobby can cause you to produce better work professionally.
2. Get inspired
Don’t expect creativity to fall in your lap. Look for new sources of inspiration that will give you fresh ideas and motivate you to generate unique answers to questions. Read a book, go for a walk in a new neighborhood, start a conversation with someone new, or try something you’ve never done before. Putting yourself in a new environment will help you think differently and see things from a new perspective.
3. Strategize your thinking
As it turns out, creativity has a lot to do with psychology, and many psychologists have tried to crack the formula of pure creativity. Although there is no such simple answer, there are techniques in thinking that have been proven to help people through their various creative pursuits.
One technique, the “Six Thinking Hats,” developed by Edward de Bono, suggests tackling a problem from six different perspectives. By organizing an otherwise unstructured creative process, the thought categories provide a means to plan thinking processes and increase effectiveness.
- Red Hat (emotions): Look at the problem emotionally. What are your intuitive or instinctive gut reactions?
- White Hat (information): Look at the problem objectively. What are the facts and stats?
- Yellow Hat (optimism): Use a positive perspective. Which elements of the solution work? What is the positive impact of the solution?
- Black Hat (discernment): Use a negative perspective. Which elements of the solution won’t work? Take an investigative stance and think about any negative outcomes.
- Green Hat (creativity): Think creatively. How can you tackle the problem in a way that hasn’t been done before?
- Blue Hat (managing): Think broadly. What is the best overall solution? What is the goal?
4. Don’t be afraid of seemingly bad ideas
There is no right or wrong solution. Instead of simply going with the first idea you have, take the time to think of every possible way to approach the situation.
There is a golden rule amongst writers that you must write out 25 headlines for every piece of content. This strategy can be applied to almost any other creative form. The exercise will force you to think outside the box and come up with the best idea possible. Don’t be afraid of your bad ideas. They’re all part of the thinking process and may just lead you to your best ideas yet.
5. Think about the big transformative idea
Think BIG. What is the transformative idea that will gain people’s attention? Think past budgets, expectations, and technical barriers. Those details can be sorted out after the idea has been formed. If you could do anything, what would it be? Think about how you can make an impact and change someone’s way of thinking with your content.