I have spent a better part of my adolescence and adult life surrounding myself with creative people. I have always thought of myself as somewhat creative in the sense that I like unique ideas, I like people who think differently from the norm and I am very curious about what’s next. I went to school to create in the television and film industry, thinking that I would do something in one of those industries (strangely I think it all started when my parents would make me watch this show back in the 1970’s titled “PM Magazine” which is basically an original version of Entertainment Tonight). I was very interested and entertained by celebrities with their trendy style and current way of looking at the world.
While I was in a creative environment in high school and college, I never really understood why I liked being around people that thought differently so much. Looking back, I know now that I relished in it because I was intellectually stimulated by the relationships and conversation…and curious about why. Problem-solving through ideation, passionate conversation and debate about ideas seemed to be the most impactful way to success and a fulfilling life, for me anyway. My career path was not a straight line (I guess it rarely is). However, I was able to maintain a constant thread of creative roles throughout my career in marketing and advertising in the retail and restaurant industries. Both of those industries require problem-solving and decision-making at a moment’s notice and is ever-changing, rarely boring. After the ups and downs of working for someone else over 25 years, I started a company with a team of super creatives, people that don’t stop until they find the solution and then bring the solution to life for our clients, and in a unique way that is not like other brands.
Our team at Norton Creative inspires me every day and I watch and learn how they are able to get creative answers quickly. Channeling creativity happens in so many different ways… however, it feels like our best work and our best ideas come with time and space. When channeling your inner creativity on any topic I suggest a few of these simple ideas to get started:
What is the point? What am I trying to solve for? Why do I need a new idea? The objective or goal that is trying to be solved for must be identified first. Every new idea comes from ‘beginning with the end in mind’ as Stephen Covey writes. “I want to identify a new career for myself” or “I want to create a new business idea so that I have more flexibility or money or fulfillment” are a couple of examples of an end result of your ideation.
Time to Percolate. This is so important and sometimes not an option, especially in a fast-paced environment. Giving ourselves time to think through a solution take time, and sometimes the right time. I cannot ideate when my brain is in ‘work mode’ meaning I am paying bills, or looking at a spreadsheet, or trying to figure out how to get one kid to a place and another kid to another place. Finding time for ourselves to think freely is crucial to channeling creativity.
Note taking. By this I mean, writing down every thought about your objective over a period of time. Let’s say you are trying to identify what your next career move will be. Over a week or two, jot down a note every time something of substance comes to you (I keep a notebook in my bag every time I think of something that might inspire me). It is truly amazing to see how many times I jot something down… that list at the end of a couple of weeks is pretty darn long.
Run/Walk/Exercise alone. I am such an extrovert that I always believed that if I worked out with someone else, I would keep my regime going for longer. Well, this is true and I do enjoy exercising with others. However, for creative thinking and problem solving, I rarely come to a unique solution with others. I think exercise time with no distractions help ideas flow…those ideas are your ideas, not your friend or spouse or co-worker. Naomi Judd once said, “Solitude is creativity’s best friend.” Click To Tweet
Find or create a space that allows for creativity. A space that is free of distraction (let’s say NOT a Starbucks, or restaurant) and comfortable is usually a great place to start. I google ideas often and then start writing freeform from my notes and thoughts… but I can only do that in a quiet, undistracted space and usually with my favorite cup of coffee or tea.
Every person has some level of curiosity…tapping into that curiosity through some of these ways will help you channel your inner creativity! I would love to hear all the great ways you get to a creative answer…