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    Entries in creative process (3)


    New ways of working: let's 'ideate' and come up with ideas

    New ways of working: let's 'ideate' and come up with ideas. Creativity is a must, a survival skill says the World Economic Forum, the Institute for the Future and other predictors of skills for the brutal future.

    Celebrate this skill of human ingenuity we have, to make up stuff that solves tricky problems. Our customers need us to do this.

    We gained insights from the INVOLVE stage (see yesterday's post) so it's time to come up with ideas about the insights. Ideas happen when you form a mental image of something that isn’t present or isn’t yet real. That's a concept or plan, a program or suggestion, a whim or a hunch ... or something more detailed.

    Rod Judkins in the book 'Ideas are your only currency', says that ideas are our only currency! 😆

    In a world where Netflix-ing, Uber-ing and Spotify-ing are an everyday thing, remember these are the result of ideas. Ideas that someone had, they created and put them into the world.

    New ways of working need us to stop this 'I'm not creative' sh*t (it's a self-fulfilling prophecy, by the way) and bring ingenious solutions to tricky customer problems.

    You're clever and your customers need that.


    Don't be bored will you

    Some days are filled with so many activities, commitments and appointments back-to-back there’s no time for anything else. No deliberate anything, not even lunch on some days. (Boo!)

    As a child, I frequently said to my mum, ‘I’m bored!’ and she’d list off a few things I could do to counter the boredom. I had a creative mind and was always looking for something to work on, play with, experiment or try.

    In the modern workplace, lurching from meeting to meeting, screen to screen, racing through the day, something big about this isn’t right.

    It’s not sustainable and it’s not smart.

    Are we allowing, creating or letting ourselves be a little bored? Even for a few minutes? Great creativity, ingenuity and insightful thinking comes when you let yourself be bored.

    Your brain goes to work providing you with potential solutions to the problems you’ve been endlessly giving it. If there’s no break, there’s no space.

    Rather than automatically reaching for your device to fill the space, have a go and let yourself be bored. Notice things and people; think ... whatever comes to mind. This allows us to make sharper connections when we really need them.

    How could you let yourself be boredf?


    How to deal with creative sads, dips and roller coasters

    Creators and makers the world over (and history past) know there are times when the muse shows up and times when it’s in hiding.

    In between times, you get the opportunity to beat yourself up about:

    • how you’re not creative;
    • are only creative after alcohol or cupcakes;
    • sometimes think you might be creative but other people have already thought/done/published/shipped made a gazillion dollars doing what you thought might have been original;
    • can’t keep the creative thing going every day; and
    • feel like giving up; who would notice anyway.


    These thoughts are all part of the creative dip; that roller coaster of thinking about your wonderfully human capability of ingenuity, of making sh*t up, of being brilliant and insightful and clever.

    Even if you think your creativity comes as often as a leap year, look out because even if it's a leap year or not, creativity IS there. 

    When the dip hits, reach for this list of action-based solutions to wind you up-up-up and back on the rails to the heights of the brilliance you know is yours.


    Know it - know that it WILL come; it’s not a case of if, but when. The creative dip will come. When you know that, you’ll notice it when it does. It won’t shock you into taking a day under the covers … alone; with ice cream or choc-coated marshmallows. 


    Name it - when it comes, name it. Call out to it. “Hey you, you dippity dip of creative process. I know you, you’re not gonna get me! Ha! You’re just here to make me… no way, I’m not even gonna say it. Screw you! I’ve got stuff to do!”


    Shift focus - when it aches on the downward slope, go to another thing you’ve got bubbling on the back burner. You know that ‘thing’, that other project, idea or wonderment you’ve had before? Get that out for a moment and spend a little time with that. This stage of being in the dip will pass. 


    Distraction with another action – There is no sense falling into the pit of wallow and staying there; start immediately on another piece of this project. Persist despite the dip. 


    Not-negotiable - Do not debate or argue or negotiate with the dip. As Richard Carlson says in his brilliant book ‘Stop thinking start living’. If you think, debate, negotiate or ruminate, you’re going to be done-for down there in the depths. Carry on. Simply carry on. (PS: By the way, thinking about why you’re in the pit is not carrying on.)


    Thank it and keep moving - Acknowledge the pit and that it’s simply your ego looking out for you, trying to protect you from the scary stuff of shipping and publishing and creating. Seth Godin knows it; Steven Pressfield knows it; Austin Kleon knows it; Elizabeth Gilbert knows it; Nancy Duarte knows it. You too are currently knowing it. Doing creative thinking and work is tricky, challenging and hard but you’ve got this. You have. 


    See the light of dawn – Not suggesting you do an all-nighter, rather as you’re on the up slope, you’ll think ‘Hey, hang on a minute, this could be… maybe it’s a bit good after all.’ This is the light of awesome firing and flaring up again. Acknowledge that. Say ‘I’m coming up for sunlight again here people’. 


    Step on the gas – With some light coming your way, speed up, go safely but at breakneck speed. You’re up and out of the pit, pick up some momentum and carry on. Double time. With a renewed view from another peak, you have a wonderful capability to go further, faster and fairer than before. So go go go and do do do.

    We don’t need to deny or delete the roller coaster dip of the creative process; we need to acknowledge it. The creative sads and the dip of doubt hits us all at some time through the course of a project or piece of work. Yes, sometimes it feels more frequent or that rollercoaster is a nauseating ride we paid for…but it does pass.

    When you get to the top of the next roller coaster hill, enjoy that expansive view. You’re just one scream away from the next pit. But by then you’ll be an expert hand at this creative dip thing. You’ll get your rhythm, flow and creative mojo on and you’ll go, onward and upward, screaming with the wind in your hair: ‘Aaaarrrggghhhh! I’m aliiiiivvvveeeee!’