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06 January 2017

6 tips for a creativity reset

It's that time of year when we all want to improve ourselves. The first few days back to work are filled with the kind of enthusiasm that comes from being a few days into various well meant new years resolutions, “I will go to the gym … I will not buy a takeaway coffee every day… I will be more creative this year…”. 

Creativity is so much more than just about putting pen to paper and writing a poem or drawing a sketch. More and more, businesses are looking for innovative ways of thinking and doing when it comes to getting the job done and as the economy gets tougher, we’re all looking at ways to really stand out. If you’re looking to reset your creativity and make it stick, we have some top tips to help keep you on track:

1)  Learn something new

When reading interviews with successful entrepreneurs and business people from start-ups through to big corporate CEOs, reading books and learning pops up again and again. While many people will scoff (when on earth will you find the time?), you don’t need to be Mark Zuckerberg or Richard Branson to squeeze in time to learn something new.

TED talks cover just about any subject under the sun in bite size chunks of up to 18 minutes each. Podcasts can teach you something new or entertain you. Audiobooks are often read by the author, giving their unique perspective to their writing. Why not watch a TED talk on a coffee break, listen to a podcast on your commute or bribe yourself into the gym with a gripping audiobook? Not having time to read is not an excuse not to learn.

To get you started why not give the following a try:

Discover where good ideas come from according to Steven Johnson
Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from | TED Talk | TED.com

Investigate a series of surprisingly honest interviews by Alec Baldwin
Here’s The Thing with Alec Baldwin by WNYC on iTunes

Try on someone else’s shoes with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Unabridged (Audio Download): Amazon.co.uk: Mark Haddon, Ben Tibber, Random House AudioBooks: Books

2) Be open to happy accidents

If you stick rigidly to the same approach, you may feel like you have streamlined your working process for ultimate efficiency. But what if fitting into these rules is removing all the serendipitous moments that offer that ‘aha’  insight?  Being open to following different trains of thought that might appear unconnected at first glance can often yield interesting results (and sometimes solutions to something completely different).

Trying different systems or approaches can help your brain connect the dots in a new way. If you always write up a list of bullet points, why not try drawing the problem without using words or mind map your ideas. If you’ve never drawn a problem out, watch this TED video on how to make toast to see how it works:

Tom Wujec: Got a wicked problem? First, tell me how you make toast | TED Talk | TED.com

3)  Take breaks

While it can be tempting to put your head down and tackle a chunk of work until it's done, scientific studies have proven that short breaks are not only good to help boost productivity by resetting your focus, but can boost your creativity. By having a conversation with a friend, reading a blog article or going for a short stroll, you can gain a new perspective on your problem or spark that elusive moment of genius.

Brief diversions vastly improve focus, researchers find — ScienceDaily

4) Change the venue

When the room feels stifling or you feel like you’re going round in circles, a change (of venue) can be as good as a rest. Whether it's taking the late night brainstorm team to the bar for happy hour, standing in the shower or simply swapping desks, the change in perspective can help you look at the world with fresh eyes and put a positive spin on your problem.

5) Get plenty of rest

We all know that sleep is when our brain recovers and our bodies recuperate, but did you know that sleep actually restructures new memory representations, meaning we can then think about these experiences in new ways? A power nap can stimulate the right side of the brain, where the creative thoughts originate from but rest can also be physical exercise. Stick with us on this, as it offers the subconscious a chance to think through problems without the conscious mind censoring the flow of thoughts. To find out more about what constitutes rest and why with regards to creativity, Ferris Jabr interviews the author of ‘Rest: Why you get more done when you work less’ here: Q&A: Why a Rested Brain Is More Creative - Scientific American

6) Have fun

Albert Einstein said “Creativity is intelligence having fun” and there’s a good reason that big companies like Google have all sorts of fun perks in their corporate spaces such slides, rock climbing walls and table tennis tables. Playing can boost feel-good endorphins and offer clarity, so crack a smile, tell a joke, listen to some music or daydream to encourage a positive mood. Team outings and gym breaks can also help groups think more creatively by freeing up their thought process and refocusing the team as a whole. To learn more Tim Brown’s TED talk tale of creativity and play discusses the powerful relationship between the two and offers things to try if you’re stuck: Tim  Brown: Tales of creativity and play | TED Talk | TED.com

At ifour, we value the power of creativity, whether it's strategic thinking, designing a new brand or creating a stand out marketing campaign to help us help our clients to achieve amazing things. It’s what makes us happy and drives us to keep pushing boundaries and exceed expectations. If you’d like to tap into our creativity for your brand why not call us 01892 541111, pop in and visit our Tunbridge Wells studio or email us on hello@ifour.co.uk

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