Monday, July 15, 2019

How to Overcome the Challenges to Creativity

There are some interesting movies coming out this year: The Lion King, Toy Story 4, Aladdin, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, and Spider-Man: Far From Home just to name a few. It seems like sequels and remakes dominate our current culture.

So, why are these types of movies so popular to make?

They don’t require as much risk to create and sell. There is a built in audience and market to guarantee a return on investment. This often competes with the very real desire to do something unique and compelling. But a truly new and innovative approach is risky.

Businesses and organizations say they want more creativity and innovation. But it seems like they don’t appreciate the obstacles to sound thinking and reflection. They want guaranteed success. So the temptation is to find a best practice or tried and true approach.

Designers are no different.

How do we move from a desire for creativity to reality, when there are fewer guarantees of success?

We have to see the risk of doing what seems to work as a greater risk than trying an innovative approach.

If you were Toys R Us, Sears, Hecht Company, or Kodak you would understand the risk of not innovating within your industry. However we can still learn from these examples and take more seriously the need to constantly improve our creative thinking.

Sometimes it’s tempting to believe good ideas are simply the product of luck. But that’s not true. Inspiration is the product of experience, training, information, and research. The key to good ideas is to work with what you know.

Research is key.

The more you know your subject the more you will have to work with. Find out about your subject from various angles, such as audience profiles, arguments for and against, and competition.

Start small.

Appreciate the need to be consistent within a brand, but innovative in delivery. Keep to guidelines first before adding any creative nuances.

When generating ideas, first start with the trite and best practices. Ask why these have worked. How does the target audience respond to them? What does this audience need to help improve their experience?

Mind map.

One of the best ways to personally brainstorm ideas is to mind map. You can start with words that describe your project; words that your client used to describe what they want in the final product; words that define the goals; words that define your audience. Then take the mind map to generate sketches.

Sketch a lot.

Try to get to 50 ideas within an hour. If you get 10-20, that’s fine too. Just try not to settle for your first idea.

Go outside.

When you’re running out of steam or feeling stuck, try putting yourself in a different environment. Take a walk to no particular destination. Or try sitting in a library and browsing around. Go to a coffee shop and read. Ideas come when you aren’t trying so hard sometimes, because your brain needs time to make unique connections.

Rinse and Repeat.

The goal is to use what has worked with new thinking. And bring out new approaches with sound reasoning.

Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

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