While cleaning out my hard drive last week, I came upon an old presentation on how to increase your creativity that I gave to a group of young leaders.
As I looked through it, I realized that part of it was quite applicable for bloggers who want to be more creative in their blogging, so I decided to provide a small series of pieces based on my presentation this week. Today I’ll start with a post about ‘creative ways.’
I’m not sure where I received this information – it’s possible that some of it came from Edward DeBono’s stuff (but it’s been a decade since I examined this).
So, where do original ideas come from?
When I think about the various types of creative posts that I’ve written or that I’ve seen others write, they often fall into one of the following categories:
When new ideas emerge as a result of constructing on earlier ones. This is a very step-by-step procedure in which the progression in thoughts is relatively little at each phase yet significant over time.
A wonderful blog-related example of this has been the evolution of most blogging systems, such as WordPress, which upgrades its features on a regular basis, building on what they previously had.
Every day, most bloggers engage in this evolutionary process through their blogging, taking previously expressed ideas (both their own and those of others) and expanding on them.
When embarking on this evolutionary journey, a helpful question to ask oneself is, ‘How could I better (insert thing to evolve here)….?’
Evolution isn’t the sexiest of the approaches I’ll discuss here, but it’s certainly the most prevalent way of generating new ideas.
When you see something old in a new light.
To demonstrate this concept, in my lecture, I gave each participant a fork and told them to come up with as many new uses for a fork as they could in two minutes.
Most people begin this type of exercise somewhat inhibited by their previous fork-boxing experience, but thinking beyond the box can lead to some interesting (and occasionally valuable) discoveries.
‘How could I do XXX differently?’ is a good question to ask.
When two or more existing ideas are joined to form a new third idea.
This is one of my favorite methods to express myself creatively. I enjoy the challenge and the opportunities it can provide.
This is what happened on the fateful day when someone thought what would happen if they mixed the concepts of a theater and a restaurant — theatre restaurant.
This Synthesis is something I believe we’re seeing more of in the blogosphere right now, as people merge blogs with other forms of websites (forums, video, audio, job boards, chat rooms, etc).
When beginning synthesis, ask yourself, “How could I combine the benefits of XXX with the benefits of YYY?”
When a brand new idea is generated that is noticeably different from prior ones.
A blogger I recently met who used to be an email newsletter marketer comes to mind as an example. He discovered that his email lists were getting less and less successful, so he switched from newsletters to blogs, reinventing (and energizing) his firm in the process.
His goals didn’t truly alter, but his techniques did.
Instead of asking, “How can I make XXX better?” consider, “What could I do instead of XXX to achieve the same goals?”
When there is a total shift of focus.
This is a rather extreme procedure for a company or individual to undertake, and it often entails wiping the slate clean and rebuilding from the ground up.
In this instance, a good question to ask is, ‘If we could start over, how would we do things differently?’
I’m sure there are other ways to be creative (and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments), but the five listed above would be a good place to start.
Note that each of the above strategies can be used by bloggers on at least two levels, including while producing posts, but also on a bigger level as we consider our entire blogs and what we’re developing in the big picture.