Have More A-Ha Moments!

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So you have a project that needs a little creativity, only you’ve hit a roadblock.  Sometimes all it takes is a few exercises to not only achieve the results, but achieve them unconventionally.  Listed below are a few ways to help you think creatively:

Ask the right questions.  Instead of asking “how can I achieve the results desired?” ask yourself “how can I achieve the results desired creatively?”

Seeing is believing.  We are often lost in the idea of getting things done quickly without realizing we are even doing them.  Simply checking things off your list so you can focus on the larger items can be great for time management.  Sometimes, however, details get lost in the shuffle.  Create a flowchart and highlight some of those details.  They can be a great source of creative inspiration.

Start at the roots.  Coming up with the copy to support your great idea can be one of the biggest challenges.  Next time, place your idea in the center of a piece of paper.  From the center, branch off with supporting words that could benefit from the idea.  Then, branch off of your supporting words with each of their benefits.   Make your branches free flowing, only using one word per branch.  Using color and images further stimulates creativity.

Sharing is caring.  Some of the best ideas come from a brainstorming session.  Remember that during a brainstorming session, it’s about quantity not quality.  The objective is to come up with as many ideas as possible, knowing that you can refine these later.  Categorize them into what can be used now and what ideas that can be saved for another project.

Warm up first.  Creative thinking exercises can further help you warm up to new ideas.  There are several hundred techniques that you can find online to help get your creative juices flowing.  Before your next brainstorm session or before you begin working on your next big project, start by doing a few warm-up exercises.  This is one of my favorite brainstorm session icebreakers, found on creativethinking.net:

Ask participants to think of the name of an object that begins with the same letter as their last name. Examples: M = meal, A = apple, C = credit card, D = diamond, E = energy bar and so on. Write the name on a post-it-note and post the post-it-note on their forehead. Now ask the participants to matriculate around the room and combine their object with someone else’s and create something new. Examples:

• Rock + Chair = A spongy mat that you can put on top of rocks to transform any rock into a chair.
• Deck + Legos = A put-it-together adjustable wooden deck that can be dismantled and stored.
• Desk + Treadmill = A treadmill desk. You can walk at a 1 mph pace while you work at your computer. Guaranteed to lose weight without dieting.
• Bomb + Bath = Doggie bath bombs. The bombs are made of pet shampoo that has been molded into a solid form. You throw the bomb in the water and it bubbles and fizzes, saving you the trouble of holding on to the slippery shampoo bottle and your squirmy dog at the same time.
• Dog + Shovel = New Business. Start a business picking up dog poo with pooper scoopers for institutions, corporations, golf courses, estates for a fee.

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