Coming up with creative ideas for content is tricky. At work especially, it can be difficult to relax and find the time and space to let your creativity flow. To help you shake off those cobwebs and get the creative juices flowing, we have found 6 ways to get creative without brainstorming.
All of these activities can be as exercises to loosen up or as the reason for meetings themselves. Shake things up. Maybe do one or two before a strategy meeting or book some time away from the office and do all of them! Whatever you decide, these ideas will help you free up your mind and think up some new and interesting ways to create.
Word banking is similar to word association exercises. However, this isn’t your garden variety word association game. Where word association focuses on pairing one word with another, word banking expands the thinking. Give your colleagues a few topics or themes, and ask them to come up with as many terms relating to them. This scope allows your team to get the obvious answers out of the way and dig deep to find connections that may not have been obvious without considered thinking.
Once you’ve got a whole bunch words written down, take a look and draw lines between words with possible connections. This allows you to find unique perspectives and create something truly special.
Word dissociation is the evil twin of word association. Instead of finding the connections between words, this little exercise challenges you to think quickly and break tired associations. The human brain is an incredible tool and does a lot of legwork to save you time.
Challenge your notions
Take a topic or word, go around the room and try to think of words completely disconnected from the subject. This antithetical approach gives you a unique perspective and allows you to see your subject in a new light.
Assumptions exist in every facet of our lives. Work is no different. You may have assumptions on who might a website or service. Why not have a creative discussion and question your assumptions.
Draw up a list of assumptions for your team to discuss. Choose some which are likely and some which are wildly inaccurate. During the exercise be respectful and understanding, you and your team may just break new ground and find a new way to approach a problem.
Break down the barriers on what you think customers want or what will work and try to change your mindset. This fresh perspective can open the door to new ideas and allow you to find that creative angle your competitors are missing.
‘No Notes’ challenges you to ditch the tech and write what you think. Choose a topic and just write what you know about it. It can be anything, quotes, random facts, and even feelings. By doing this you free yourself of the crutch of data and research before it’s necessary. Ideas come from freedom so before researching your topic try ‘No Notes’ with your team.
Six Thinking Hats
This activity developed by the famed psychologist Edward de Bono breaks down your topic into six areas to allow you and your team to fully explore an idea. To do this, give each of your team members a ‘hat’. Each hat has a unique colour and role in the discussion.
- Blue: Logic
- Red: Emotion
- Green: Creativity
- Purple: Management
- Black: Devil’s Advocate
- Yellow: Optimism
Each hat has a unique outlook on a topic. Allow people to embody the spirit of their thinking hat and provide their thoughts on a topic. This focussed approach may be difficult to get used to at first, but once your team have the swing of it will yield incredible insights.
The more angles you cover, the greater your understanding of a topic. Use de Bono’s creation and you’ll find new ways to approach old problems.
Now, I’m the first to admit I’m terrible at drawing. Art is not everyone’s strong suit so the prospect of sketching your ideas may be daunting. However, shaking up the way you work may be the balm you need.
This activity is simple and can be quite fun. Grab a piece of paper, the bigger the better. Better yet, commandeer a whiteboard from a boardroom. Choose a topic and have everyone in the team draw an image related to your topic. It can be a little cartoon, a quote, even just a Venn diagram. Whatever comes to mind. Repeat this exercise a few times with different topics. Once you’ve had some fun getting creative, go back and look at your sketches. Try and look for connections between ideas, maybe you’ve all drawn in a similar style? Or perhaps found associations you never knew existed before?