I'm going out on a limb and I'm going to assume that at some point someone has asked you to solve a problem by being creative. How did that work out?Asking someone to "be creative" can cause a wide range of reactions from fear and panic all the way through to excitement and joy.
Some of us work in creative industries and there is a definite pressure to "be creative" on demand. I imagine this is a little bit like how a comedian feels when you ask them to tell you a joke. How do you have that idea, deliver that messaging, build that brand, create that imagery under pressure, day in day out?
The simple answer is practice. Creativity is like a muscle and it needs exercise. As children, each and every one of us used our imaginations every day. Some of us grew up to be artists and others accountants, but (and this is really important) our job doesn't have any impact on our ability to be creative. People who practice anything are naturally better at it than those who don’t. (Excluding the 1% of geniuses that are just amazingly gifted. If you are one of those annoyingly talented people I think you can stop reading this now and go back to renewing your Mensa subscription.)
There are so many ways that you can both exercise and express your creativity in your day to day roles regardless of the industry you work in. There are certain boundaries that must be respected but overall a workforce that is creatively engaged and a company that supports creativity will always have an advantage over those that stifle our creative natures.
CREATIVITY IS A PROCESS...
Not every idea is a good idea or as my mother used to say "just because you can doesn't mean you should" and like all processes, creativity should be considered a journey. Getting to a point where a solution ticks all the boxes is complex and likewise getting to a point where your solution inspires delight may not always possible. That isn't to say we shouldn't strive for delight because the more we practice the better we will get.
I have created a list below of 5 simple things that anyone can implement in order to begin to bring a little creativity back into your work life. Please feel free to add more suggestions or let me know if you have any creative tips or tricks.
MOVE YOUR MEETINGS
Take it outside, or stand up, walk around. Try to avoid sitting in the same chair and better yet avoid the meeting room unless absolutely necessary.
CREATE AN IDEAS SPACE
This can be either a personal space on your desk or a communal space for sharing ideas. Write them down, draw a picture or just doodle, this will let you track your ideas and potentially elevate them through collaboration.
FIND A CREATIVE BUDDY
It's hard to start something by yourself, just do a quick review of all your gym memberships. With the aid of a creative buddy you have a sounding board and a potential collaborator, leverage these connections and make time to be inspired.
BECOME OK WITH FAILURE
It's a bit of a cliché but you need to fail. Failure means you're trying and learning. If everything you try works it's probably not because you're a genius but more likely you aren't being bold enough.
PICK A PROJECT
Every single product, service and aspect of your job can be done differently and probably better. Pick a project to work on, think about how you can improve it and then implement your creative solution. Test, measure and repeat.
Good luck and just remember next time someone tells you to "be creative" you got this.