Seven tips for boosting creativity


This is a summary of some notes I made from a feature about boosting creativity in Scientific American Mind. I stumbled on this list while leafing through an old note book from 2008 (Black Moleskine, my favourite notebook at the time). Thought they were still relevant and interesting…

  1. Surroundings. The more interesting your surroundings and diverse the things you can see, the more interconnections you will make  – and apparently the more interesting your ideas will be as a result. (Useful for freelance journalists thinking up feature ideas).
  2. Go on an artist’s ‘date’ or ‘outing’. Go on an adventure once a week.
  3. Walk out the door for 20 minutes and see what happens to your thinking.
  4. Work at it. Creativity won’t necessarily come naturally and easily to you.
  5. Learn not to fear rejection. Indeed, even rejoice in it. Malcolm McLaren, most famous for having managed the Sex Pistols,  was told by a teacher ‘Just from looking at you, I can tell you’re all failures. But the important thing is to have the courage to fail magnificently.’ He said the whole of the ‘punk aesthetic’ was summed up in that one idea. ‘Learning not to fear failure is the most liberating thing. It frees you from low self-esteem and the judgment of others.’ (I’m taking these quotes from a snippet of a Sunday supplement cutting in a piece written by Alan Jackson, I’ve stuck in the same Moleskine notebook. Apologies but I can’t reference exactly which supplement and when it was published.
  6. If you feel creatively stuck try something that breaks your existing patterns: take up a new hobby, randomly choose a restaurant or film, read a magazine you wouldn’t usually look twice at, throw out everything you haven’t used or enjoyed in the past year, join a club or association you wouldn’t usually consider going along to, learn to play a new instrument, work at a different desk, talk to a stranger or get somebody else to interview you about what excites you in life and why.
  7. Realise you’re probably not that far away from a great idea. Indeed, it’s likely to be built on something you’re already thinking about or working on. Marcia Kilgore, who invented FitFlops, came up with the idea for this successful product while she was on a panel, discussing cellulite. She asked herself what women wanted and what they believed. She realised nobody believes you sit around and your cellulite goes away. They believe creams might help, but it’s not a solution. She realised women believe a solution has to be something you do regularly. It probably requires effort and that you do it regularly, but if it’s too much effort you won’t do it. It also has to be cheap to buy, inexpensive to make… Then came her lightbulb moment: a flip flop that tones your legs. The FitFlop. As soon as she’d had that thought, she felt all the hairs on her arms stand on end. She then went on to think up an elevator speech as a result of this. She believes that if you can’t explain a product in the time it takes to go several floors in the lift, then forget it because nobody will have an attention span longer than this.


Fitflop Frou Sandals Orange ITHS_MarciaKilgore

April 27, 2014