Last week while cleaning up my hard drive I came across an old presentation that I gave to a group of young leaders on how to develop your creativity.
As I read through it I realized that some of it was quite appropriate for bloggers wanting to be more creative in their blogging and so thought that this week I’d present a short series of posts based upon my presentation. Today I’ll start with a post on ‘methods of creativity‘.
I’m not sure where I got this material from – it’s likely that at least some of it comes from some of Edward DeBono’s material (but it’s been a decade since I researched this).
So where do creative ideas come from?
As I ponder the different types of creative posts that I’ve written or that I’ve seen others write – they generally come in one of the following ways:
When new ideas come as a result of building upon previous ones. This is very much a step by step process where at each step the progression in ideas very small but where over time it is significant.
A great blog related example of this has been the evolution of most blogging platforms, like WordPress which periodically updates it’s features – building each time on what they previously had.
Most bloggers enter into this evolutionary process every day with their blogging – taking previously expressed ideas (both their own and those of others) and extending them.
A good question to ask yourself when entering into this evolutionary process is – ‘how could I improve (insert thing to evolve here)….?’
Evolution isn’t the ‘sexiest’ of the methods that I’ll talk about here – but it’s probably the most common way of creating new ideas.
When you look at something old in a new way.
The exercise that I did with participants in my presentation to illustrate this point was to give each person a fork and to tell them to come up with as many new uses for a fork as they could in 2 minutes.
Most people start that type of exercise somewhat paralyzed by their previous boxing of forks – but breaking outside the box can lead to some interesting (and sometimes useful )discoveries.
A question to ask - ‘how could I do XXX differently?’
Where two or more existing ideas are combined into a third new idea.
This is one of my favorite ways of being creative. I like the challenge and possibilities that it can bring.
This is what happened that fateful day that someone wondered what would happen if they combined the idea of a theatre and a restaurant together – theatre restaurant.
It’s this Synthesis that I think we’re seeing more and more of in the blogosphere at present as people combine blogs with other types of websites (forums, video, audio, job boards, chat rooms etc).
A question to ask when entering into synthesis – ‘how could I take the benefits of XXX and combine them with the benefits of YYY’?
Where a completely new idea that is markedly different from a previous one is developed.
An example that comes to mind is of a blogger that I recently met who used to be an email newsletter marketer. He found that his newsletter lists were becoming less and less effective so decided to move from newsletters to blogs – reinventing (and enlivening) his business in the process.
His goals didn’t really change but his methods did considerably.
A question to ask – instead of asking ‘how can I make XXX better’ one might ask – ‘what could I do instead of XXX to achieve the same goals?’
5. Changing Direction
Where there is a complete change of focus.
This is a fairly radical process for a business or individual to take and generally involves wiping a slate clean to rebuild from the ground up.
A question to ask in this case – ‘if we could start over – how would we do things differently?’
I’m sure there are other ways to be creative (and I’d be interested to hear your suggestions below) but the above five might make a good place to start.
Note – each of the above methods can be applied as bloggers on at least a couple of levels including during the writing of posts but also on a broader level as we think about our whole blogs and what we’re developing on a big picture level.
Tomorrow I’ll continue this series of posts on creativity with a post on attitudes of creative people.