How to find creativity inside, break a block, and generate new ideas: xTiles recommends
There are many proven ways to boost your creativity and open an endless stream of ideas in your mind. Generating ideas is a hard job, but it might get even harder if you don’t know how to get yourself back on track if there’s a vacuum inside your head. Ideation is quite an abstract and ephemeral matter, but you can come closer using different tips and techniques.
- Make a habit of writing all of your ideas and thoughts
- Give yourself space and time
- Brainstorm responsibly
- Go other direction (reverse thinking)
- Have a journal
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions
- Look for inspiration everywhere and all the time
- Create a mood board
- Conduct a research
- Don’t think about why one idea is bad, but how to make it better
Let’s take a closer look at each of them. But before we start, please remember that generating ideas is not always a consequence of natural creativity but deep awareness and understanding of the subject. It might be a spontaneous yet brilliant thought that appears literally from nowhere, but usually, it’s a product of studying and research. In other words, ideas need a base to be built.
1. Make a habit of writing all of your ideas and thoughts
Have you ever spotted that good ideas usually pop up in your mind when you aren’t even trying? And the bad thing is that sometimes the lifespan of an idea is a couple of seconds. It may vanish faster than it appeared, leaving you powerless and angry while heading to your notebook.
We recommend using the device that is with you 99% of the time you’re awake. Use your smartphone and xTiles mobile app to save all the ideas that have potential. Additionally, you may get yourself the xTiles Web Clipper to save everything interesting you come across surfing on the internet. You will be able to go back to them in your desktop version and start working on their development using the needed templates.
2. Give yourself space and time
It’s hard to think under pressure, and it’s almost impossible to be creative forcefully. When you see that there’s no chance that marvelous idea is going to come to your mind, just relax. Maybe you’re overwhelmed with the information. Ideation and brainstorming aren’t easy, and most likely, your mind needs some rest.
Your brain may need to get a little bit distracted. Show it something else to concentrate on, and the solution might come on its own. Go to the movies, take a walk in the park or forest, or have a power nap. Yes, sleeping is a great way to boost your creativity. We know many cases when some of the greatest creators got their best ideas on sleep. For example, Leonardo da Vinci used to fall asleep in his chair purposely while holding a massive key. The key slid from his hand and woke him up, so he couldn’t dive too deep into his dreams and forget what they were about.
3. Brainstorm responsibly
Brainstorming is the process of ideas generation when they are needed. It’s not about forcing yourself but rather about switching on your natural creativity at a certain moment.
Brainstorming is the most common approach to coming up with new ideas. For many in marketing, writing, advertising, etc., it keeps being the only option. However, a bare brainstorming session without any other additional tools or applied approaches might be pretty useless. Unless you want to test how strong bounds, respect, and tolerance for others’ opinions inside your team are.
Sometimes coming up with something fresh might take days or even weeks. During this time, you will think about millions of things to find what is really great, and it’s important not to miss them. Every thought is an element of a puzzle. To get the whole picture, you need all of them. That’s why we suggest using the xTiles individual brainstorming template to keep everything noted.
Brainstorming with your team is somehow harder and easier than on your own. You may get help when you’ve got blocked, or you may get some amazing insight from others’ thoughts, and vice versa. You all might rush into chaos because the number of bad ideas is increasing with the number of people who work on them.
The number of bad or useless ideas always prevails. However, they might be considered lousy only because they aren’t relevant right now. That’s why keeping track of what was “born” during your brainstorming sessions is important.
4. Go other direction
Reverse thinking may become a great addition to your team brainstorming session. This technique is rarely used as the first step in creating new ideas, but it might help you if you’ve got stuck. As you may assume from the name, you need to turn everything upside down. Outline your goal and work backward – find methods to achieve the opposite.
When a person or a team works on a certain idea for a long time, they might become obsessed with some thoughts. This technique is good for shaking you, like good stretching after a long time in a car. It doesn’t guarantee success, but it will be easier to start the traditional ideation process again with new perspectives.
5. Have a journal
Have you ever felt that there’s some concept in your mind you can’t catch or outline? That might be because of a lack of connection and understanding of what is happening inside your head. Maintaining a connection with yourself and your feelings is important for better recognition of your thoughts, and the xTiles journaling template may become a way to establish these links.
You may also get a journal of your dreams if you struggle with generating story ideas. Note everything you dream about immediately after waking up so you won’t miss too much of what might become helpful for your future story. Some famous stories like Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein or Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 emerged from authors’ dreams.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
How could we generate an idea out of nothing? The light bulb might not appear if you have a bare minimum of information. So, ask as many questions as possible till the point they think you’re annoying.
If you work with a customer, it’s not always easy to get the information you need. When a person knows everything about a project or product, they might not consider something particularly interesting. You, who know nothing about it, at least so far, are here to take a look from another angle, and to do it, you need facts. You may use the xTiles Creative brief template or our Research brief template to get everything you need to generate new ideas and keep the stuff together.
7. Look for inspiration everywhere and all the time
Listen to that song that has been on repeat recently more carefully. Read its lyrics. Or go back and listen to what made you smile a year ago. Having a playlist is a great way to create comfortable circumstances for ideation within an environment that doesn’t support your creativity.
If you’re a writer and generating ideas for stories is your everlasting fight, read more books and watch more films related to your writing style and preferable thematic.
Listen to what people are saying on the streets. You won’t get more than a sentence or a couple of words, but they might help you come up with something interesting.
Take a seat at your favorite cafe on the terrace or near a window and watch people. Try to imagine what comedies, dramas, tragicomedies, or even thrillers hide behind their hurrying into infinity figures.
It is said that some people’s minds are like a monkey – keeps jumping from one branch (thought) to another without stopping. It might be good, and it might be bad, depending on whether you’re able to control it for idea generation.
Meditation helps you keep your mind concentrated on one thought to get it thoroughly considered. You may make meditation a part of your daily routine or use it only when you need to think. However, please don’t assume that if you can’t make your monkey stop, great ideas won’t flash into your mind. This inclination might be used to your advantage too.
9. Create a mood board
This idea generation technique will take longer as you will have to reconnect with yourself and how you feel about the subject. It’s also great for outlining a story plot and thinking about its theme, atmosphere, and mood.
Normally, you will need to find appealing pictures and place them together. Instead, use the xTiles Moodboard template. It allows you to gather not only a visual representation of your subject but also audio and video. Having a mood board for certain tasks, you can go back to reconnect with your initial idea whenever you think the link is lost.
10. Conduct a research
Sometimes a small piece of information might be what you lack to generate an idea. The better you understand the subject, the easier it will be to look at it from a different perspective and find connections that might be funny or interesting. This tip also lowers the intensity of ideation, helping you to relax and distract from the main task. Besides, it’s always great to learn something new.
You may come across worthy information unpurposed by surfing the internet. It’s good to save any content that you think you may use for work later. However, since our social media are mostly for personal use, mixing videos of corgis struggling with stairways and something to think about later might not be the wisest decision. You may use the xTiles Bookmarks template to have everything in one place and structured.
11. Don’t think about why one idea is bad, but how to make it better
Adequate evaluation of your or others’ ideas is the key to getting the idea that will work. It’s easier to consider an idea a bad one and forget about it for good than to find out why it has disadvantages and what to do about it. Many potentially good ideas might disappear if you keep using such an approach.
One may estimate the idea using the xTiles Disney creative strategy template. It will help you take a look at a current concept from three points of view – dreamers, realizers, and critics. If you work on a team, you might divide it into three clusters. However, it might be better to go over each of them together so that you will get more thought on the subject.
An idea itself isn’t everything, and raw ideas are usually overestimated. Even the best idea would be nothing without thoughtful planning, efficient management, and smooth and adequate implementation. Another important point is that an idea isn’t equal to a finished product, even though they are inseparable. The distance from the moment an idea flashes upon somebody’s mind till the product is ready is pretty long. And when people consider their ideas bad, that’s usually because the execution is bad, not the idea itself.
Please, don’t give up if it seems like you can’t come up with a single good idea. If there is a crossroad between talent and gained skills, ideation and creativity definitely lie somewhere there. And, what works for one person, might not work for another, so don’t get disappointed if the first technique or tip you tried has turned out to be useless. xTiles will assist you with finding your way and your unique approach, and who knows what might happen – maybe your idea will define the world of the future.